I’m going to confess something in public right now. I’m obsessed. Ever since I got a Fitbit in August 2013, I’ve become more and more a slave to this device. I started with the basic unit and upgraded to the top-of-the-line Surge as soon as it came on the market. I created a spreadsheet on which I record my daily step count and miles walked (think I’m a little OCD?). Early on, when traveling if I found myself short of hitting my step goal, I would walk hotel hallways and stairwells until the Fitbit buzzed my achievement. More recently I continued to push for higher and higher daily step counts – 20,000, then 25,000, then 30,000. At this point in time I average 20,000 to 21,000 steps each day. I’ll park my car in the farthest reaches of the parking lot to get more steps. It’s comically absurd the lengths I’ll go to increase my step count.
Walking has been mostly a beneficial experience for me. Fortunately I picked something healthy over which to obsess. Along with eating properly, walking has enabled me to lose a lot of weight. It’s great to get outside in the fresh air and I tend to listen to a wide range of podcasts and some terrific music. I guess I’m glad that I didn’t choose to obsess over an ultra-expensive hobby or something riskier like sky diving or helicopter skiing.
However, the fact remains that walking is still an obsession for me. So I started to wonder how I might channel this persistent fixation. And I’ve finally decided that walking 20,000 steps each day is probably sufficient. I don’t need to try and push my average to 25,000 or even 30,000 – though I’ve actually contemplated both of these goals. I know that my personality is such that I will always obsess over something. It might as well be something even more productive than walking. Thus, I started a process to discover a new obsession.
Intentionally searching for an obsession is more than a bit bizarre. But I knew that I wanted to settle on something profound. Then I had an epiphany. One of our corporate core values is Customer Fulfillment – We Strive to Exceed Our Customers’ Expectations. Why not focus my obsessive energy on Customer Fulfillment? This notion began to resonate with me and I became excited over the possibilities. The challenge is to keep from having an artificial mindset about this. My obsession over walking is totally natural – can my obsession about Customer Fulfillment be just as natural? I resolved to make it so.
It is a fascinating experience to consciously and purposefully channel one obsession into another. I’ve only been doing it for a few months. But every time I walk, I find myself thinking about Customer Fulfillment. Ideas flow freely during these twice daily wanderings. Many notes are made on my phone to be fleshed out later. I’m now adding some podcasts with a customer-centric flair for my listening pleasure. Walking has become the trigger for the focus on this new obsession. I think this is the real key. If we want to channel an obsession into something productive, a trigger of some sort is needed. It also needs to become a daily practice. If I only walked three or four times each week the trigger effect would be less pronounced and I doubt that I would be able to transfer the walking obsession into that of Customer Fulfillment. I’m not going to stop walking, but now I ‘m inspired to walk for a different reason.
Obsessions can often be destructive. Fortunately there is a way to channel them into productive endeavors if we resolve to do so. Thank you Fitbit!
This blog is being written in tandem with my book, “An Entrepreneur’s Words to Live By,” available on Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle (My Book), as well as being available in all of the other major eBook formats.