Fact: Adhering to a consistent workout program will drastically improve your job performance—regardless of what you do for a living.

It doesn’t matter if you are a teacher, doctor, lawyer, accountant, engineer, cashier or anything in between, working out will allow you to do your job more effectively. Why? For starters, there are myriad physical (increased energy), mental (improved mental acuity) and emotional (improved mood) benefits that a proper training program provides, all of which provide the potential for higher performance in the work place.

And while these tangible benefits are paramount to becoming the best version of yourself and to living a happy, fulfilled, meaningful, successful and significant life, there are also a wide array of intangible benefits. These are benefits that can’t be measured or quantified per se, but regardless, they have a profound impact on your professional performance, achievement and value.

These include traits such as discipline, confidence and grit. By making the choice to push yourself outside of your comfort zone during physical training, you will habitually hone and sharpen these traits in the process. Just like a bicep or deltoid, these intangible traits can only get stronger with use.

Let’s take a closer look at these three traits.

Discipline is a major key to success both inside and outside of gym because it is the code by which you live out your standards, beliefs and values on a minute by minute, choice by choice basis. Discipline is not what you say, it’s what you do, and it’s doing what you need to do even when you don’t feel like doing it (like working out, or taking the high road at work). It takes tremendous discipline to train hard, train smart and train consistently. It also takes a tremendous amount of discipline to be honest and hardworking in your place of business, rather than selfish, lazy and dishonest.

Confidence is only achieved through demonstrated performance. When you train consistently, you build confidence by conditioning yourself to push through discomfort. And your confidence continues to increase when your body starts to change. Adding muscle and reducing body fat makes you look better, feel better and perform better—all of which raise your confidence inside and outside the gym! By building confidence through training, that confidence will begin to seep into your daily activities, like taking on a project you may have shied away from before, or going after a new account. You’re not afraid of failure or rejection, because you’ve flexed that confidence muscle and know that fatigue and failure are a part of the growing process.

Grit is arguably the most accurate predictor of success. Grit is your resolve. It is your persistence. It is your strength of character. It is your relentlessness. It is your heart. Grit is a mindset. You strengthen your grit when you consistently push your mind and body through discomfort, when you eek out one more rep than you thought you could or sprint on the treadmill for 30 more seconds. By testing and stretching your physical resolve, you are proving to yourself that persistence is worth it—if you believe you can achieve, you will.

As you can see, you are strengthening more than just your muscles every time you are in the gym!

Fitness and leadership

Do you know where else the intangible characteristics of discipline, confidence and grit show up in life? They are foundational traits of effective leadership.

Leadership is a choice; it’s not a title. It’s not a position. It’s not a rank. It is a conscious choice. Leadership is simply the ability to positively influence and impact others. And strengthening your discipline, confidence and grit allows you to lead at a higher level. So when you are pushing yourself in the gym, you are actually sharpening your leadership sword!

It’s important to acknowledge that you, and only you, decide whether or not you are a leader, regardless of your vocation or job title. Leaders are not born. They are not anointed. They are not crowned. Leaders are developed.

You may not get to choose your job title. Someone else may decide how much authority you have, but you do get to choose whether or not you are a leader. Authority does not equal leadership. There are plenty of examples of people that have power, but they aren’t leaders.

If you want to improve your influence and impact, and help your team reach its potential and become as successful as possible, leadership must start with you. Regardless of what you do or what your title is, remember that leadership is important, leadership is valued, leadership is in demand—and leadership is earned, not given.

The most effective way to invest in your future is to improve your leadership skills. One place to start is at the gym, strengthening not just your physical muscles, but your discipline, confidence and grit, too. By flexing these intangible muscles, you’re training your way one step at a time to the invaluable qualities that make a leader worth following.

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