Training in the gym made me stronger in the conference room!

Training in the gym and leading my life otherwise are two sides of the same coin for me. The sparring sessions off the office prepare me for battles in the conference room. Sooner than later you’ll have to acknowledge and understand the value of health in order to become good at what you do professionally.

For all the new folks, my name is Rishiraj Kapur and I am 39 years old. I work the day and lead an alternate life once the sun goes down. As a young adult, all I aspired was to get an education, start a family and make a comfortable living. When I was doing time as a middle aged professional and family man, the sport happened to me. I remember waking up one morning and it all changed. It was like I hit a nerve, and nothing has been the same ever since. It changed my life! Now, I don’t just aspire to make a living, I aspire to make a difference.

What comes to your mind when you think of physical training or bodybuilding? Let me guess, protein drinks, oatmeal, heaps of weights and people flexing their muscles? Well, that’s just the tip of the ice berg. The sport not only helps to build physical strength, it also builds character & discipline and most importantly, a warrior mindset. These are attributes you see in world class leaders. Your actions and results are interdependent of your professional and personal life. You have a greater chance to succeed in whatever you do when these are in harmony. As the Chinese say, a sound mind rests in a sound body.  Below are my top four Leadership characteristics you can develop by way of physical exercise.

A leader must be strong- people get attached to strength naturally. A strong person demonstrates a sense of reliability and inspires men and women alike. And it’s not just limited to physical strength. A man’s true character or sense of strength should seldom be judged when he celebrates a victory. it’s his attitude when his back is against the wall. The sweat room teaches you just that. You build exemplary strength and character. You push yourself to the limit and come out strong no matter where you’re standing. Remember, what doesn’t kill you, only makes you stronger. So, the next time you’re preparing to close a potential client, or on the verge of building a world class product, or going for that make or break presentation, just make sure to push something heavy that morning. Then, celebrate like a champion after.

You build world class discipline- I have never come across any successful leader or person who hasn’t had a certain amount of self-discipline in their lives. The most important task of a leader is to get things done. You don’t stop short of finishing what you started ‘casue you’re tired or you’re bored, you finish them anyway. That is the power of is the pathway to freedom. In order for you to succeed, you must do what needs to be done even when you don’t want to do it. If you must work on a project. You must work no matter what. No one cares whether you’re too young, too old or you’re sick or it’s the end of the world. You build discipline each day by doing the small yet important things that matter. This leads to consistency and that turns into a habit which then spills over to other areas in your life and become a part of your value system. In the sweat room, the laws are the same. Anyone can work out when they want to work out. It sure feels good when its bright and sunny and you’re all excited. The times when you don’t want to do it and you still do it, makes you a champion, a warrior! There are plenty of days I wake up sore and don’t want to work out. You know what I do, I still go finish what I am supposed to finish ‘cause I know it’s the right thing to do.

You learn to lead by starting with yourself- Most people think of Leadership as a skill which can be acquired in two days. Sign-up for a course online. Go to a seminar and get a certificate. Bam! you’re a leader. Ha!!  If it were that easy, the world would have been full of captains with no players to build the game. Well, leadership starts with managing yourself first. The value of self -management is cultivated by practicing self-control. You learn how to overcome immediate temptation by being a stoic and not an epicurean. This knowledge then governs your ecosystem and you live in harmony.  The sport is similar. You lead your physical and mental self by keeping your temptations under control and set course on the path of glory. The physical outcome is just a by-product. I’d like to acknowledge Simon Sinek here-Leadership and physical training have little payback in the short term, hence most people give up early. You go to the gym for a day and then the next day and then again and you do this for a few weeks. What will happen when you look at yourself in the mirror? NOTHING! This is then perceived by people to have no effect or impact and hence, they quit. Leadership on the other hand is the same. You go in and do the same thing every single day, day in and day out and what are your results in the short term? NOTHING! But that day will come when your efforts will bare fruit. Only the wise understand this and persevere.

You fail your way to success– In order for you to nurture strength and become a strong leader, you must fail often. Then only you understand the value of success.  No better analogy than the muscle building process and no better place than the gym to learn from. You lift weights and go through your motions. You persist till you fail. The outcome is growth. That is the only way you will build new muscle. Same applies in life and in leadership. You learn from your failures and no-body else’s. You can choose to protect yourself and wait for life to hit you.  And, at some point I guarantee it will hit you. If you haven’t failed enough till this point, it will be tough to handle the blow.

Everyone’s definition of success could be different. For some it’s financial success, for some it could be family and relationships, or it could just be leading a life of fulfillment. In every order you will face adversity and the only way to build your strength is by failing often and failing early.

I manage my 24 hours a lot better now versus the time when I thought I had 48 in a day and would put off most of what I did. So, just in case you’re asking when should you start? Well, the answer is yesterday!

I wish you a happy Sunday and let me leave you with a little selection from one of my favourite, Robert Frost’s work

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

We Lift; therefore, we are!


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