The week after the holiday indulgence and just before the dawn of a new year is an awkward purgatory for those who have that guilty little voice in their heads scolding them for a year plagued by work demands, too many sugary snacks and not enough exercise, right?
Enter the New Years Resolution and the proverbial eye roll – ok well maybe it’s just me who rolls my eyes at the hype around resolutions, gym memberships and clean eating. Eye roll or not, yours truly has already purchased 2 books, bought a slew of new workout gear and even dusted off my blogging experience in hopes of redefining a year that saw a lot of progress and a lot of failure.
Failure was real this year – while I’ve spent the better part of 12 years climbing the corporate ladder, what felt like inches away from CFO, I found myself questioning everything I had worked for (insert cliche shocked face here). I continually left meetings wondering what it was all for – I came home and replayed the day’s events over and over until I was driven crazy – until I cracked.
My crack was more of the subtle frost heave you see on the pavement – it was built up over time and finally after a few bouts of frost, cracks started appearing. However, after a lot of reflection these last few days at home in Maine, I came to the realization that there is something to be said for cracks. They aren’t necessarily a sign of weakness or fragility – for many (including me) it could be construed as a sign of character and resilience, that despite some fractures or setbacks, we can still stand the test of time. The cracks from my career cross-examination were similar to the very fear that prompted me to start this blog after what felt like a crushing defeat from my first marathon.
Cliche or not, your career is in fact a marathon, so I don’t know why I was so shocked that having similar realizations at work would lead me down the same paths as marathon training My career has been so rewarding but over time has become a mental struggle – identical to those 16-, 18- and even 20-mile training runs where you’re out there in the blistering heat or cold questioning every step, every goal, and every part of your mental toughness.
I’ve never been a big fan of resolutions simply out of the fact their nature seems so temporary and fleeting – much like the vivacious January gym-going crowd that disappears like an extinct culture in mid-February. Running has taught me that the process is much more important than the goal or resolution.
This year, I conquered my fear of running another marathon – effectively silencing all of the self doubt that had crept up my body like a vine threatening to choke out all the self confidence I spent over a year rebuilding. Looking back on the “dig deep” mantra in my marathon training, I realized I needed to channel that same mantra into my career – to help squelch the days filled with political drama and learn to focus on myself. Chipping away at the overall goal – repairing my professional curiosity.
So while I’m sitting here writing this I know that an “Eat, Pray, Love” moment (albeit sounds nice) isn’t my reality. What I know is that appreciating process and not forcing anything too quickly, too drastically or too cautiously is the key to success, in careers and in running. There is no sexy resolution, no quick fix or no extended getaway that will set you on the right path for the new year ahead.
While I won’t be setting any new years resolutions, 2019 is will be the year of process and mental toughness for me – I will be using the lessons and mantras I learned to overcome my second marathon fear to help conquer my career conundrums. Slowing down to appreciate the process, the challenges, and the rewards outside of just running will be at the forefront of my journey this next year.
…but running goal-wise, I will be training to run a sub-2 hour half marathon – if you’re looking for a tangible 2019 goal, you’re more than welcome to train along with me! (training plan posted below in the calendar section)
Wishing everyone a Happy New Year and slowing down enough to appreciate the process and journey in the year ahead!