5 lessons from CrossFit that will make you more successful

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Benefits of Crossfit

If you ever saw me in person you would know right away that I am not someone who spends my time doing CrossFit workouts. In truth, given the opportunity for exercise (which I do not get nearly enough of), I will more likely be kayaking on the Hudson River or cycling. But I was inspired by a conversation with a good friend who was extolling the benefits of CrossFit, not only for her body but for her life as well.

In case you are unaware, CrossFit is a multibillion-dollar fitness phenomenon that has taken the world (well, at least Reebok and ESPN) by storm. Some say it is dangerous and cult-like, but for many it is a clear path to functional fitness. Apparently, my friend insists, it is also more than burpees and tire-flipping. It teaches professional skills that you can flex along with your big muscles at the office. Here are some CrossFit-related success lessons to consider while panting on the sofa from the latest workout.

1. Celebrate every success, even small ones.

It's great to be humble, but hey, there's no shame in doing a happy dance when you nail a personal record! CrossFitters congratulate themselves whether they deadlifted more today than last week or just dragged their unmotivated selves to the gym. Why not apply the same principle to daily professional achievements? If you gave a stellar presentation or rocked your quarterly review, pat yourself on the back. Look back on all of the hard work you put in and celebrate your progress. It will keep you hungry for more.

2. Don't let difficulty defeat you.

Some workouts end with everyone in speechless puddles of sweat on the floor. Those moments are an opportunity to show the world how you respond to failure. Will you despair, or peel yourself off the floor and show up again tomorrow? Complaining about your work assignments doesn't help any more than griping about how sore you are. Keeping a good attitude while dealing with annoying co-workers and putting out office fires speaks volumes about your character and capabilities.

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3. If it's worth doing, do it right.

Even the fittest of the fit find it mighty tempting to skirt the rules when they are tired or bored. Sure the desire for perfect form dwindles after the second dozen repetitions. But cheating diminishes the results and may be physically dangerous. It's the same at work: shortcuts are just Band-Aids, and all Band-Aids eventually fall off. Take the extra time to learn new tasks from the ground up to figure out what's most efficient and productive. You'll save yourself from making costly mistakes, leaving you more time for creative thinking and strategic planning.

4. Embrace the suck.

Some exercises are painful no matter what, so get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Pushing endurance to the limit always causes the body and mind to rebel, shouting "Stop!" CrossFitters call that the "dark place" where everything inside wants to give up and shut down. It takes physical and mental strength to push through. There are plenty of office "dark places:" long hours before a deadline, prepping for the promotion that someone else gets, or wondering whether you're in the wrong career. Instead of becoming frozen in self-pity, bask in the glory of the suck. Let it motivate you to become a better employee, and see bigger results down the line.

5. Embrace the community.

Some people think CrossFit is only for professional athletes, and let fear intimidate them out of trying it. In reality, most participants are regular Joes and Janes. They groan together about the WODs (Workout Of the Day) and cheer each other on as the clock runs out. CrossFit would be a lonely experience without that camaraderie! Likewise, the working world can feel isolating. Don't neglect relationships with your colleagues, even when the workload piles. Take a break to go grab coffee or eat lunch together. Having good work friends will keep you happier in the long run and help you maintain your sanity when crunch time rolls around.

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