Endurance at Work

An interview/Q&A with business executive Kathy Button Bell, by Adam Bryant, appears in the New York Times today. It's titled "Endurance on the Field, and at Work" and discusses some lessons that Ms. Bell learned from her involvement in athletic activities:

I think everybody benefits from having played sports. It makes you a good sharer, for one thing, in lots of ways. And it makes you more empathetic in general. I love to see sports in a résumé. A woman who works for me right now was a Harvard swimmer, and I can tell that every time I talk to her about something. She's an endurance athlete. She's tough in a pinch. She will get it done. And I respect that enormously.

It's your middle that you depend on — the hard part of you, the tough part in the middle that goes: "Oh, I can stand up in that storm. That's O.K."

In Bell's experience physically-demanding sports give increased energy and endurance, especially critical when one is tired from travel. She also sees prioritization and patience as crucial virtues in work:

... you prioritize better as you get older, and you realize that time can also be your friend. Some things actually simply will go away, and you have to get smarter and smarter to know which ones are which. I think I do a much better job of saying: "You know what? Let that sit."


I am much more patient — a hundred times more patient than I was. I also prioritize much better, which comes out of patience. I think patience, by far, teaches you what to do. The mistake people make is they try to do everything. Dave Farr, our C.E.O., says that if you have a to-do list of 10 things, rip it and do three. Just do three.

(cf. Let It Slide (2005-04-25), Hare Brain, Tortoise Mind (2005-06-03), Ten Strategies for Success (2008-08-29), ...) - ^z - 2011-07-03