Recently I ran an 8 mile Spartan race in the 90 degree heat. If you don’t know what a spartan race is you can find out more about it in one of my previous articles "Why I Run". However this is article is not about Spartan racing, it is about something i learned while training for the Spartan race and that is the power of shared goals.
I ran the race with 2 other people. We all live in 3 different locations and therefore we couldn’t train together. This left us having to trust that each of us was putting in the time necessary for the race so that no teammate would drag the other ones down. At least in my mind this was a huge responsibly and a driving force on those days when i didn't want to go to the gym or was tempted to cheat on my diet.
A couple of times each week we would text or email each other encouragement about the training and share in the joint misery of not being able to indulge in ice cream, soda, and fried foods. even though we were not physically together we were able to form a community or a brotherhood through our shared goals.
Honestly, I usually prefer projects or tasks where it solely relies on my performance whether i succeed or fail. In my mind I want to have complete control of the outcome of any situation. That is probably something not unique to me but it is just how I am wired. In this instance however I had to give up some control. If I wasn’t prepared, It would not only affect me, it would negatively affect my team. We were all giving up a little control and placing our trust in each others hands. While we gave up control we also gained several things:
Accountability-When you are on your own you have to be the sole motivator. You have to be extremely disciplined and driven. When you work with a team you have to be accountable to your teammates.
Competition-Lets be honest, even on a team there is competition between teammates. Nobody wants to be the weakest link and therefore you push yourself harder during training to try and be just an ounce better than your teammate.
Support-When you are going through a difficult experience, knowing that someone is going through the same thing can be invaluable.
Success-When you accomplish a goal on your own there is definitely an amazing sense of accomplishment because you achieved something on your own. However, there is also something incredibly rewarding about accomplishing a goal with your teammates. You all went through the battles together and you succeeded together. It’s an incredible feeling.
So how does this help you outside of the athletic arena? Think about it in your personal life or work life. We are usually either working on something solo or as a team. When you are on a team you can use the power of creating shared goals to bring your team closer together and to use everyone’s unique strengths to the teams advantage.
- Matthew King, Co-founder