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Train Your Brain Everyday

Tracie Hitz's picture

By Tracie Hitz
Old Hat Creative

When I turned 33, it felt like my metabolism came to a complete halt. Eating a small Papa John's Pizza for dinner now required me to run longer just to maintain my normal weight. In the professional world, people often assume that if you're older (like me), you are wiser. That's not the case, especially with all of the technological advances in the last few years. If you're not training your brain everyday, you will get left behind.

The first excuse I hear whenever I say that is, "I don't have enough time". That's the same excuse I used whenever I skipped my workouts, but then I realized I could always find time for the fun things in life so there's no reason I can't get the dreaded running into my day too. What I needed to do was make my workouts fun and create a plan that would help me stick to them.

That's when I decided to do a complete makeover of my life. Make time to grow personally and professionally based on the quote I hear all the time, "it's a marathon, not a sprint". Professional development seemed so time consuming because I was trying to take advantage of big opportunities rather than taking them piece by piece. Similar to burning calories, take the stairs instead of the elevator. Walk instead of drive. Improving doesn't have to be done in one grand gesture. Here are three things that helped me create a new lifestyle:

Do Something, Big or Small, Everyday
Instead of only relying on seminars, conventions, long conversations with mentors, I found smaller ways to complement what I was already doing.

  • I set up a Twitter account so I could knew what was going on in the sports industry and beyond.
  • I checked in with mentors or mentees more frequently by writing a note, sending an email, making a quick phone call or even sending a direct message. By closing the gaps between our communication, the conversations weren't massive because we were already caught up on most things.
  • I found blogs that provide information for different situations I encounter each week. Most authors have blogs, so I started by tracking down my favorite author's, like Seth Godin, to get his daily inspiration. His posts are short and sweet, but put me in the right frame of mind every time. Total time spent, three minutes a day. I can read his blog while I'm waiting for my order at lunch.
  • I read articles my friends suggest via Twitter because having people I trust finding the most relevant articles saves me tons of time. All I have to do is read it.
  • I update my resume even though I have no intention of applying for a job. Every time I do something I'm proud of, I want to make sure that enthusiasm comes through so I update it in real time. A resume isn't just for other people. It's to remind you of what you're accomplished so you can remember where you've been to get where you are going.
  • I jump on Twitter chats like #SBchat, #social4tix and #SportJC to get ideas and share some of my own. It's also great for networking.
  • After being on a few chats, I started one of my own that is a professional development book club each month (#PDBookClub).
  • I go to lunch with my boss, my staff, my co-workers, sponsors, clients, etc.
  • I ask for opportunities to take the reigns for a meeting, and I give my staff chances to do that as well.
  • I try to step outside of my comfort zone every once in awhile. I sang karaoke for the first time in May despite having a horrible voice, but that experience makes speaking in front of large groups of people a lot easier!
  • I took some personality tests and that information is something I use everyday. My co-workers took the test too, so since then we've been adjusting our management styles and everything in between to increase communication and be an even more cohesive team.

Get Into A Routine
To stick to my workouts, I follow the half marathon training program even though I have no intention of running another one. The schedule just keeps me in line. So with professional development, I start every week setting up a plan of how I can do something each day. More importantly, I start everyday looking at the plan and adjusting when something comes up that tries to throw me off track.

While it may seem like a waste of time to spend 10-15 minutes mapping things out instead of using that time to get more things done, having the plan makes me more efficient so I can actually accomplish everything or ask for help when I need it. Having a plan gives me a mental boost that keeps me on track.

Find People To Hold You Accountable
Just like with my workouts, having a running buddy increases the chances that I will follow through. Of course, there's even an app for this, MyFitnessPal, that has dozens of my friends posting positive comments, as well as reminding me to check in if it's been awhile since I posted a workout. That's where the concept of the #PDBookClub came from. I wanted to read a book every month, but I knew it would be more fun, and in turn more likely, if I included my friends across the country. And it has.

I also started a blog this year dedicated to helping sports professionals with their career paths, but also to help me grow as well. Sticking with my "Train Your Brain Everyday" motto, I decided I would blog everyday. I wasn't sure I would have enough time and I definitely didn't think I would have enough to say, but when you have people counting on you to post, somehow you just find a way.

For all of these reasons, I am excited about the relaunching of the The Migala Report. Dan has always inspired me to be a better person, so having a platform to be inspired by so many sports biz pros is something I will definitely be adding to my daily routine. I hope you will too.

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