“If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.” – Anonymous Quote
I recently completed my first 10 km race. I’m 55 years old and was never a runner. When the pandemic shut down the local gym, I found myself choosing to run to stay fit and manage my stress. Three years later, I achieved a “personal best,” running 10 kilometres in under an hour.
As a coach, I wish I could say that this accomplishment was the result of deliberate goal setting and meticulous planning. But that’s not exactly how it happened.
I signed up for the Toronto Run for Women in support of women’s mental health on a weekend in May when I was feeling low energy and looking for a new challenge. While I had been mulling over running a 10K for a while, it was truthfully an impulsive decision.
Not too well thought out when I realized I only had three weeks to train!
I was also motivated to fundraise for a cause that spoke to me personally. Over the next few weeks, the support I received from friends and family kept the momentum going.
Finishing the race with an unexpectedly good time is one of my proudest accomplishments.
It was also a lesson in how goal achievement takes different forms. If you are struggling to achieve a personal or professional goal, looking back at proud accomplishments provides valuable insights about your unique strengths and motivators.
Get comfortable with proud accomplishments
I coach a lot of high achievers who, ironically, excel at identifying their faults, disappointments, and failures. This is especially true for women. When it comes to talking about proud accomplishments at work,
I notice clients often shy away from these conversations. Yet in order to thrive personally and professionally, you need to get comfortable with your achievements, to shine a light on your successes, and to overcome challenges by activating your strengths.
One of the regular questions I ask in coaching is “What was your proudest moment last week?” It doesn’t have to be big. The important thing is to pause, reflect, and share so that you can notice what happens when you start with strengths.
Sharing a proud moment is not just a self-congratulatory pat on the back. It enables you to learn and to grow – to discover what it will take to achieve your next personal best.
Here are three things to keep in mind to achieve your personal best:
Make it personal. You have to care about succeeding because it matters to you personally. Describe something you want to achieve for yourself or the people on your team.
Get outside your comfort zone. If it doesn’t challenge you, it’s too easy. Set a goal that is daunting yet attainable.
Small steps first. Once you have a goal in mind, break it down into manageable steps. Enlist support, find an accountability partner, and celebrate the small victories along the way.
On race day, I was thrilled to contribute to women’s mental health, to stretch outside my comfort zone, and to cross the finish line with my partner Kevin cheering me on. More importantly, I learned about myself and what it takes for me to give my personal best.
Lianne Krakauer is on the roster of top-flight leadership coaches at Vision Coaching. For more on Lianne and our other accredited coaches, visit our website.