I recently watched a video of Lewis Hamilton talking about his fitness and weight being a huge part of the difference between a win and a loss. He went on to mention that in a single race he could lose about 10 pounds (4 kilograms). You pull up to 6 times your body weight with the G-force of Formula 1 driving.
My husband often jokes about that in business. Staying in the game and your longevity is what determines your fitness. Your ability to stay true to who you are, what you are here for, and your purpose is what gets you to the winning line. It’s not about being the best in the game, but how match-fit you are. What struck me in the interview with Lewis Hamilton is how he says, at the beginning of each season, his car is a little heavier and he is asked to shed some weight in order to compensate. I can imagine that the bigger car, the more intense the inertia. When you turn and your car goes one way, you are pulling on 6 times your body weight, so you don’t go swinging in the opposite direction of your car and lose momentum.
I liken this to how gruelling it is being in business as a woman in South Africa. What you don’t want to do is hold too much weight that could have you going in the direction inertia is taking you against your will! You need a strong core to be able to pull yourself back from the force of inertia into the direction of your car. My car is my career. My career has had many turns and changes and I liken this to the Swimming Pool section in F1. One mistake on that turn and it’s you and the barriers. I can imagine the amount of core strength it must take to take on those corners. When we see a driver thread their car through those corners, it’s just pure poetry in motion from our side, but man what a struggle.
You don’t want to slow down too much, you also don’t want the inertia to take you (though tempting) and losing the momentum and staying power is not a risk worth taking, for these seasons, a good build on stamina and strengthening your core pays off.
And that’s what the past 3 years have been to me in business – building match fitness. I have been tempted multiple times to just go with the inertia. It’s easier but painful because it’s never the real deal or the winning route. I’ve had a few choices: I could just go with the flow of where I’m being thrown at in the moment, or I could use the time in isolation to really engage my core, go within, get to know myself and allow the internal and external core muscles I have built up for myself be my greatest strengths along those Swimming Pool sections in my career.
I see many parallels with swimming as well, (Yes, of course you wouldn’t get through an Art of Superwoman editor’s note without me mentioning swimming), you are often reminded to strengthen your core and to keep moving to better your speed – a strong core is so important for a swimmer that’s looking to increase speed and improve technique. You need to remain buoyant against the tide in open water swimming and strengthen your core. A strong core minimises the drag through the water, the core plays a very important role in keeping the body in a stable streamline position. I know for sure that the difference between a stronger finish at next year’s Midmar Mile and I, is core strength.
Allow me to preach a bit here: When the people of Israel were enslaved in Egypt, they cried out to God to deliver them. When God answered their cry, He used the expression “I am who I am”. Seeking God, the inner most powerful truths and pureness of God and His love assures you how loved, treasured and protected you are. That alone frees you. So, if God can say to the Israelites “I Am” and assure them that He was not only God but present with them; He has given us the power to go within, seek ourselves out and ask Him who we are and why we are here. Inertia has nothing on the core strength in that!
It is in the times and moments that people don’t see you perform, see you do the work, that the actual work is done to strengthen your core. These times are called stillness. It is in that stillness that you develop the ability you need for the speed, technique and make your Swimming Pool sections look like poetry.
I know now though that what stands between me and the next success I am gunning for is my core, knowing who I am. Retreating to that still space often to put in that work.