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The Power of Reset: A Reflection on Motivation from the Boxing Ring to the Boardroom

Updated: Jul 4

Being a life coach, my learnings and insights have often emerged from corners of life where I least expect them. One of those is my personal tryst with boxing. Boxing is more than a sport, it's a way of life that demands not only physical prowess, but also mental tenacity and a knack for survival. And it was during one of these training sessions, amidst the grunts and gloves, that I stumbled upon a potent principle that holds true not just in the boxing ring, but also in the sphere of leadership and team management - the power of the reset.

When I first laced up my gloves and stepped into the ring, I was an amateur in every sense of the word. Boxing, I quickly learnt, was an all-encompassing exercise of the mind and body. It demanded a heightened sense of awareness, a readiness to respond, and a willingness to engage in a calculated dance of attack and defence. However, my beginners' enthusiasm was not quite matched by my skills, and my defences were often porous, my reactions slow.

My trainer - Bryan, introduced a scoring system to keep me on my toes. For every mistake or missed block, I would accumulate a mark. Each session culminated with a gruelling series of push-ups that were proportional to my accrued points. The result? By the end of each training, I was left feeling defeated, drained, and stripped of motivation. The joy of learning was being overshadowed by the dread of punishment.

However, a turning point came when I voiced my concerns to my trainer. As an astute observer and a coach, he had noticed my dwindling enthusiasm and we decided to recalibrate our approach. The boxing remained the same, the expectations were just as high, and the bar of performance was unaltered. The only difference was that now, instead of accumulating the points for an end-of-session punishment, I was asked to do three to five push-ups immediately following a mistake. The penalty was still there, but its timing had changed.

This seemingly insignificant change was a game changer for me. Although the push-ups were still physically challenging, their psychological impact was significantly lessened. Every set of push-ups now acted as an immediate feedback mechanism, a mental 'reset' button, rather than a daunting consequence waiting for me at the end of the session. This subtle shift transformed my training sessions. Mistakes were no longer dreaded, they became opportunities for immediate improvement, for mental resets. They sparked a newfound determination within me to do better the next time. The sense of defeat was replaced by resilience, and my motivation was no longer tied to the fear of punishment but was fuelled by the desire for self-improvement.

Moreover, I began to notice something intriguing. With every set of push-ups, my physical strength was incrementally improving. My jabs and crosses started carrying more weight, and I could feel them becoming stronger. It was as if every push-up was fueling my next punch, transforming every moment of failure into a stepping stone for success.

On further reflection, I realized that the power of this 'reset' was not limited to the boxing ring. It held substantial relevance to leadership and team management as well. In the corporate world, teams often work on long-term projects, a marathon of tasks that can easily lead to accumulated fatigue, drained spirits, and a loss of motivation over time. However, the introduction of regular 'clearance', 'reset', or 'celebration' moments can help mitigate this issue. These can come in various forms - be it mini celebrations of milestones achieved, regular feedback and reflection sessions, or simply moments of respite where the team can step back, take stock of their journey, and appreciate the progress made. These acts, as simple as they may sound, can help rejuvenate the team's spirit, keep them motivated, and ensure their consistent performance over the long run.

This approach fundamentally changes how we view mistakes. In our pursuit of success, we often dread mistakes, considering them as setbacks or failures. However, mistakes are integral parts of any learning journey. They are opportunities for growth, and when addressed immediately and constructively, they become stepping stones to improvement. This is true whether you're in a boxing ring, working on a project, or navigating the labyrinth of life.

So, the next time you or your team find yourselves in a slump, I urge you to remember the power of resetting. Think of those push-ups, not as punishments, but as opportunities to reflect, reset and refocus. Use them to shake off past mistakes and adopt a fresh perspective. Keep in mind that motivation, just like a well-landed punch, is a product of balance, timing, and persistence. And most importantly, remember that every moment offers an opportunity for a fresh start, a chance to reset, and a potential for growth. After all, success is not just about the destination, but also about the journey - the swings, the misses, and the ability to bounce back stronger after every fall.

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