At a mall in Minnesota, they literally tore down the JC Penney anchor store to make room for a new fitness center. It is a sign of the times – not only that brick and mortar retailers are struggling – but that gyms are thriving. There seems to be one on every corner.

I don’t think that “back in the day” we had any gyms, save for a sweaty little place where weightlifters and aspiring boxers went to work out. They certainly were not for the average person.

As a kid, our exercise was sunlight-driven or when-mom-calls-you-home driven. We got our exercise through play. Now children seem to get the majority of their exercise through structured activities that are calendar-driven: when there are practices or games. Our exercise came through goofing around with kids in the neighborhood, pick-up games of basketball or kickball in the street; today it comes through sports.

I think that gyms provide that structure after high school or college when the organized athletic events end. Gyms allow exercise times to continue to be scheduled – through classes at the gym or appointments with a trainer — and keep “exercise” as a defined event rather than an outcome of other activity.

Think about how your calendar dependency has evolved. Are there things besides exercise that need to be scheduled on it – time for friends, time to be alone, time to read or meditate? Do you need to self-impose a membership plan (like at a gym) where you make that commitment to do an activity that you know is good for you? Very little “just happens” anymore; we don’t just go out and play. Reserve time on your calendar for the things that are important.

 

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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