Intensity. In starting today’s entry, I was geared up for an inspiring pep talk, sharing experiences from the gym and encouraging resolute focus in task. And then bedtime happened…
Perhaps littlest caught a glimpse of my motivating words and took them to heart, as for the last two hours she has demonstrated, with unwavering dedication, a resistance to her crib that certainly characterizes intensity. While her goal of sleep-avoidance is one I do not promote and certainly don’t enjoy, I can appreciate (after filtering through the tired and headache) her unyielding focus as a powerful, tangible example of intensity.
With my defenses down and fatigue from the bedtime battle settling in, I find myself wondering, what results could we achieve if we approached our ambitions with the tenacity of a toddler? I am not suggesting we should throw ourselves on the floor, adopt irrational goals or scream incoherently, but rather implement the staunch commitment to whatever activity in which we are engaged, even if for a brief time, and evaluate for an improved result.
With that in mind, I regroup and return to my thoughts with purpose…
For me, intensity is the not-so-secret sauce (and based on the behavior of littlest this evening, it is a family recipe!). I am admittedly a procrastinator and, to the best I can tell, do not fit the profile of a typical Type A personality in the grand scheme. However, as a deadline, race day or big event draws near, I ramp up the focus and immerse myself in the task at hand. Though in the day to day, it seems that multi-tasking is required to survive, I have learned that my best result is made possible when I am able to hone in on a single idea, project or role. Quality over quantity has proven an effective choice in each of the facets of my life and has shown to be a successful method for sustaining balance while building strength.
As an endurance athlete, this has been a marked shift from typical volume-based training. I have always loved the gym. During the year I took off between college and medical school I reveled in my one day off each week when I would attend every morning class offered, swim at lunch, eat in the gym café and jump back into classes for the evening. Clearly, this was unsustainable in the real world, but on a smaller scale, I remained hooked on the “more is more” philosophy.
After middlest made his debut, time felt more limited than ever and I realized my historical methods of training were no longer congruent with my lifestyle. I will be ever grateful for the discovery at this time of CrossFit and CrossFitEndurance programming. These two websites and the fitness philosophy they represent have truly changed my life. Through implementation of the ever-varied tasks, I have increased strength, minimized overuse and injury and my race times have improved. More often than not, I am in and out of the gym in less than an hour and the design of the workouts is such that you are always in a mini-competition – with yourself, the clock, past performance, making it almost impossible not to ramp up the intensity. It has been, for me, a brilliant solution and whenever I am asked for training tips, I default to increased intensity as first-line for improving results.
As I extrapolate this philosophy into the rest of my life, I see the benefit of approaching each facet with intensity of focus. Earlier this week, I played FIFA on the Xbox with biggest for the first time. My skills were significantly lacking as evidenced by getting the goalie ejected on my first play of the game. Now, biggest shares my competitive spirit, but so elated was he to have my full attention, participating in an activity he loves, he didn’t mind that our team lost, or that I often tackled him even though he was my teammate. I saw in that moment the value of being all in, in the moment, without distraction of thought or action.
My patients certainly benefit from tenacious care, with attention to detail, persistence in follow up and commitment to communication and I strive to provide dedication of focus in each encounter – once the door closes and a greeting is extended, the superfluous tasks of the office fall away.
And now, with littlest finally snoozing quietly, I wager – if we could channel the perseverance of a toddler on a mission and apply that focus of energy to our own goals we would see tremendous results (or fall fast asleep…..either way, I’m all in!)