Always Be Cross-Training – How Multiple Disciplines Will Help You Succeed

I am always cross-training. I’ve just returned taking letters to the post-office, meaning that I ran there and ran back. I could have used Shyp or driven to the Post Office but it took less time to run, and besides, I was cross-training.

I don’t mean cross-training in just the traditional sense. While I do find it valuable to run in addition to studying ballet, I was actually doing a lot more. If we could have fMRIs while I was running we would have seen a lot more activity than from just my running circuits. I was training. Specifically, I was training  jeté en tournant.

I cannot actually do jetés nearly to that degree, but I was mentally rehearsing even while running. A little like the scene in Billy Eliot where he is leaping down the street, whatever it is I am doing, I am always practicing.

There are always more obstacles, bigger challenges. You’re always fighting uphill. Get used to it and train accordingly.

The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday

There is always going to be someone more talented than me. So I practice getting used to it, and train accordingly. I didn’t start dancing ballet at 8 years old like most professional dancers, or drop out of college to work for entrepreneurial titans like marketer Ryan Holiday. Consequently, to make up the time, I think critically and hustle.

Think Critically

Cross-training doesn’t just mean doing an activity that complements a primary purpose, like running might complement ballet. It also means thinking hard about specific directions you’d like to go. Though I’ve flirted with the idea of starting a new company, I haven’t done so because I’m not convinced that doing so is the best use of my time, talent and resources. Instead, I’ve begun to advise several other companies, simultaneously learning, cross-training a skill-set applicable for my own business, and helping out. All for a few hours a week.

As a result of a talk I gave at Design For Dance, I’ve begun to explore Design Thinking. Instead of spending $40,000 and two years in school, I’ve begun to get acquainted with the domain by readings – a lot! I might found another company company in the future and I might go back to school in design. Right now, I’m thinking about what I’m interested in and looking for the connections across disciplines. In other words, cross-training.


Most people I think are not aware of how much time they spend carelessly. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not immune to the pull of Facebook and have very much enjoyed watching House of Cards. But I also hustle. Actually, I never stop. If I’m driving to a client, I’m studying something – growth marketing, a new language, Motley Fool’s latest thoughts on stocks. And I’m always open to connections and doing people favors. It isn’t through luck that I’ve begun advising 4 start-ups in the last 6 months. It is through asking everyone I know who they know who might need help and then offering these people my services. Keep in mind that I’m discriminating: I don’t work with people who don’t take my offer of help seriously. I don’t work alongside founders whom I don’t like personally.

The word “hustle” gets a bad rap. It puts me in mind of cold-calling sales people – the sort that no one wants to hear from. I think “hustle” has more to do with being compassionate to another’s experience, helping out as best suits their needs and my abilities. When I do my best to support someone else, I find that the results comes back in some form.

Applying Cross-Training

Probably the most important aspect to how I cross-train is to always be working on multiple projects. I’m very serious about my ballet training. I’m also dedicated to helping the companies I advise succeed, running Move Autism, and making time for learning. By constantly juggling multiple projects, there is slippage between all of them, and I end up the richer for the experience.

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