This year I turned forty and moved forward in achieving a project I was dreaming about since my teenage years – compete in a triathlon. I know it sounds crazy, but I enjoy pushing myself out of my comfort zone, and learn along the way. I’d love to share with you some story details about my first triathlon journey, and how I became a triathlete the Agile way.
Therefore, why talk about sports in this Agile blog post? Well, I believe most athletes embrace Agile values, and are constantly developing a divergent mindset, but they don’t know! Last January I decided to join a triathlon club and access the coaching I needed to become serious about it. Being an IT Agile Coach in my professional life, I truly believe in the impact of experienced coaches in order to get the desired results from teams and individuals. But why triathlon? I have the conviction that mixing three sports will impulse multidisciplinary skills adaptation so valuable in life and at work. I see the journey being a real learning path. Through triathletes, you find many values you want part of your team – creative thinking, motivation, dedication, mutual aid, perseverance, support, friendship, collaboration and much more.
In my adventure, I first had to join a group of people I knew nothing about, with different backgrounds, personalities and goals. I got to know many of my new colleagues last January while running in the freezing cold snowy weather on the South Shore of Montreal. I had to push my limits to follow the group at unusual training hours, often after work days when I’m already tired. I found this stage difficult and confusing. I was in the Forming stage.
Then, I accepted it was going to continue and if I wanted to be a triathlete, it was going to be uncomfortable. One positive thing was the regular cadence in which the training calendar was configured. The pace was fast, recovery short, uncomfortable and frustration with my ability to perform was emerging. I had to change how I run (although I did marathons in the past), learn to swim, swim with others, and swim in open water. Last I had to absorb how to bike in collaboration with others in squads. I was in the Storming phase.
At some point, something happened, I don’t know how, but I accepted the running interval pattern, pacing myself with the others in the pool and riding at a pace to support my teammates needing some drafting. At this point I really started to have fun and better listen to advice from others and coaches. In my Norming phase, I was improving much faster than any other moment in my training.
A week ago, I completed my first event at the Mont Tremblant Ironman Olympic Distance Triathlon. I followed advice and started my swim at low pace to get my body and mind ready. Then by the end of the swim distance, I was doing very well. Along the race, there was strong support from the team and my family; pushing the limits was easy with such encouragement!
To recap, I experienced the Bruce Tuckman’s stages of group dynamics, the same team creation process I initiate while coaching IT Agile teams. Living the path and understanding better the emotions associated with the change will, I hope, make out of me a better Agile coach. My next step is the Ironman 70.3 Timberman end of August in the USA. Thanks for reading! Now your turn to apply Agile values in your life and transform the way you approach challenges.