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Career Lessons From My Lifeguard

Updated: Apr 25

We all have those high achievers in our life that astound us as often as they inspire us. For me - that's Kate.

As I walk onto the pool deck at 5:30 a.m. for my morning swim, there she is. "Good Morning!" she shouted to me from the lifeguard chair.

I'm sure many of you don't know who Kate is, so here's a few points to note:  

  1. First, as I said, its 5:30 a.m., so having a lifeguard not only present, but awake and chipper is a SCORE. The last thing you'd want would be to set the alarm, wake up early, and walk in to no lifeguard. It's happened on occasion, and it can ruin your day.

  2. Kate is not only a lifeguard, but a Mom, a triathlete, and works another job. Talk about busy!

  3. Kate got into lifeguarding because she and her daughter committed to taking lifeguarding classes together several months ago.

So, how does she do it?

I often wonder, how does Kate manage to keep such a busy schedule, accomplish so much, and keep up an amazing attitude? Maybe you have a Kate in your life - someone you observe and are amazed at the way they tackle the day.

How do they do it? Well, here are a few things I've learned from observing Kate:

1. Habit stacking.

Exercise is a core part of Kate’s life. She doesn't even let a 5:30 shift at the pool stop her. While I was swimming, I caught a glimpse of Kate lifting weights while lifeguarding. Talk about efficient!

What Kate is doing is called habit stacking - making productivity easier by combining it with another task. Habit stacking is a great practice for people who are trying to build new habits or break old ones.

For example, if you always have a messy room, and are trying to increase your news consumption, you could listen to news podcasts while cleaning your apartment.

Try habit stacking this week and see what you can get done!

2. Don’t let failure stop you.

Despite being such an amazing athlete, Kate had some injuries in the past that have prevented her from running like she used to. Instead of cutting out exercise completely, she pivoted based on what she was able to do while being injured.

Every week, I've seen her adapt and modify her exercise, adding in new challenges as her body was able to handle them. Did she bail completely on exercising?  Nope.  She improvised.

Unplanned circumstances should not be the end of the road - but an opportunity to adjust.

3.Routine matters.

One thing I've noticed about Kate - she is disciplined. She keeps to a strict routine, and it's because she has to! With everything she's doing, a regular routine helps her stay focused while taking on everything the day asks of her.

As moms, having a routine is critical. We're wives, mothers, managers of our households, and leaders of the day-to-day. We need a routine that cuts out distractions and keeps our lives low-stress.

No matter the job title outside of the home, being a Mom is THE HARDEST JOB I’ve ever had.  Developing a good routine is like preparation for the hardest job ever. How can you bring your A-game to your family without a solid plan?

How do we develop a great routine?

Start by considering these three questions:

  1. What do you want more of in your life?

  2. What do you want less of in your life?

  3. What is one change you can make right now that will positively impact your work-life balance.

We may not all feel like Kate this week. We may not feel like waking up early to go to the pool, much less doing it with a smile.

But maybe this week, we can find one small habit we can change, and make it into something bigger. We can stack the habits we want to develop. We can adjust to our failure. We can stick to a routine.

Over time we can all change with purposeful habits and a commitment to them over time.

Maybe in a few weeks - we'll be inspiring people from the side of the pool too.

Looking to level up your career or explore career options? Schedule your (FREE) career strategy session today.

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