Each year I like to try at least one thing I have never done before. I find that it helps to keep my mind sharp. I'm exposed to an area of knowledge I haven't been exposed to before, and the new practice forces me out of my well worn, and habitual grooves. From a leadership point of view, it also reminds me what it feels like to be in unfamiliar territory. We often ask others to step up, but if we continually operate within known territory ourselves, we can forget how unsettling a new space can be to the people around us.
This year, I've been doing some work with Bradley Hunter at The Shed Functional Fitness. Brad is a master of kettle bells, and a seriously good personal trainer. The end of last year for me was hectic, and I found myself adding kilos and stress. I needed a new physical routine.
I've found myself in possession of a couple of shiny new kettle bells. They don't yet have the knocks and scrapes of Brad's set. Aside from the physical benefits, the bells quickly schooled me in being present, paying attention, and finding the right focus. It's worth finding at least one thing in your life that demands being present in the here and now.
Kettle bells work in part because they force you into dynamic and unstable movements which switch on core and stabilising muscles. If you are not mentally switched on as well, they bite! Safety is a big part of the training, and Brad had briefed me really clearly on how to safely enter and exit each move.
During my first workout at home, I dropped my focus for less than a second. As I rolled over to complete the sequence, I forgot to focus on the bell. It literally took off. A quick but awkward roll managed to get the thing back on the ground without it doing damage to me, or turning into a wrecking ball. All up it was a better outcome than what could have been.
After that initial wakeup call, I find myself instantly present as soon as I touch a kettle bell now. It's almost like meditation!
I like to find activities that demand that kind of presence. It's what I strive to bring to all aspects of my life and work. When I manage that level of presence, I deliver better results, listen more, learn more, and both my business and personal relationships flourish.
Now the heady days of New Years resolutions are well behind us, if you were going to try one new thing this year - something fun, motivating and beneficial - what would that something be? The menu is endless. Will you choose a one off experience like diving with sharks or visiting a new country? Perhaps a course to develop a new skill set? Maybe a dance class? Build a new habit? Join a book club? Or try something new in business like a partnership or new offering?
What will you do this year that's new and different? What will that new space teach you?