There is a school of thought that most gains in the gym come from the time your muscles spend under tension. According to this theory lots of reps won’t move the needle much: to improve you need to safely work your muscles under tension as much as possible.

At work we spend most of our time doing reps. If you are customer facing then work is conversations, all sorts of tasks and admin that are pretty similar day to day and week to week.

Which is just as well.

If you spend 45 minutes in the gym twice a week you can afford to be maximising the time spent under tension.

However, I’ve no desire to spend 40+ hours a week at work under tension. Reps are manageable, even desirable at work, but like reps in the gym they don’t move us forward much.

So when we find ourselves under tension at work – a series of customer losses that suddenly make a great retention number look bad, or a string of critical client feedback – how should we respond?

Should we try and turn the situation into reps so we can get through it as quickly as possible with minimum time under tension or should we embrace it as a great opportunity to learn, to move the needle, to build our corporate muscles? Would a ‘gains under tension’ mindset transform an ordeal to a challenge?

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