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Up until now, only my closest friends and family have been in the know regarding what I do every Monday morning. Now I’m sharing the secret with you, as it holds some important business lessons for this year and beyond. First, a little background:

About six months ago, I decided to sign up for a boxing bootcamp. I’m not sure why, though maybe I was enticed by the thought of being able to jump rope without tripping, or maybe it was the power and strength of all the punching. I’m not a violent person, by any means, so I’m sure it wasn’t about hitting people. I want to clarify that right away. 🙂

In any case, since that boxing bootcamp, I’ve continued on with a very high intensity fitness regime which includes kickboxing and conditioning on Mondays, and strength training on Wednesdays and Fridays. I’ve also added six days of cardio a week, and am averaging about 17-20 miles a week on the cardio side of my workout.

So that is all the context for this post.

Engaging in this high level of physical activity for the past months has taught me several things about business- specifically related to the heavy bag.

For those who may not know, the heavy bag is, as it sounds, a heavy bag that you punch, kick and body slam as a way of getting stronger and tougher. I think there are some key lessons from the heavy bag for business. Here are ones I’ve grasped so far:

1) You need to be consistent. As with the heavy bag, and business, you need to show up regularly and do the workout. Being too tired, too lazy, or too unmotivated to do what needs to be done won’t improve your body or your business.

2) You need to do more than you think you can do. Exerting against the heavy bag is hard work. When you do it over and over again in a short period of time, you start to wonder where you’ll source the power to kick or punch once more. But, if you stay with it, you’ll find that you have greater reserves than you thought. Business is like this too- you sometimes have to dig down deep in order to create the power to move forward.

3) Do whatever moves you can. Feeling helpless and powerless is one of the worst feelings in the world. The heavy bag teaches us that no matter where you are starting from, do what you can. This is a key lesson in business too, especially at times where the clients seem slower to come in, are less confident about committing and when money just seems a touch harder to make.

4) Embrace your growing edge. If I compare where I was in my physical capacities six months ago, compared to now, I can see that I’m definitely getting stronger, fitter, and physically better. The heavy bag shows me this in every workout- and I continue to push my growing edge. When we embrace our growing edges, we keep moving our businesses past where they have been so far. We expand our capacities of what’s possible.

5) Know when it’s time to breathe and rest. One reason I love the heavy bag workouts is because I do them just once a week. With this framework, I can give them my all, and then rest. I anticipate my workouts happily because I take time in between to breathe and rest. The metaphor of breathing and resting is also one that will serve well in our businesses too. There are times where we need to stop for a few minutes on the plateau before we start climbing again.

Since we only learn new things in relationship to other things we already know; I think that looking for metaphors in our lives that apply to business is one way of deepening our understanding of ourselves, and what it takes to make our businesses run.

How about you? Do you have any life lessons from the heavy bag, or otherwise that you will share? Please post them in the comments- it would be great to hear from you.