Whatever version of my 365 at 36.5 cold exposure challenge you choose to undertake can seem a bit daunting. If you’ve never done cold exposure consistently before then the thought of 5-days of cold showers feels like a lifetime. If you are a cold exposure practitioner, perhaps you want to up your game and you decide on 30 straight days of ice baths. Again, a hefty goal that will require discipline and focus. You don’t need to be so serious about everything that needs to be taken seriously. What do I mean? Well, just that. As we have begun discussing 365 at 36.5, we have focused on intention. Ice baths can be hard both mentally and physically so we naturally will face the challenge with a earnest focus. That’s good, mostly.
A Hard, But Worthy Goal That You Should Take Seriously, Right?
I have found that how people react to cold exposure mirrors very closely, albeit on a much smaller scale, how people react to stress in their everyday lives. If this is the case, and we are taking our commitment to the ice baths seriously, what should our intention be? Seriousness?
My point is to look at going the other way with your intention as you undertake something significant. Remember, we want our intention going into the cold to set us up for our day, not just the few moments in the cold.
Lighten Up Your Intentions
I have had to remind myself a lot lately to lighten up as I approach my work and support my family. A very serious endeavor that does not necessarily require me to be so serious all the time. As a matter of fact, when I approach my work with a joyful intention, I find that work gets done with much more creativity and…joy.
The dichotomy can be confusing initially regarding intention going into the cold shower. The cold will not really be joyful, at least at first. But you are going into it with the intention of joy to set you up for your day. Remember, your intention about how you do things is everything. If you went about your daily grind with a joyful intention, would that make life better? You bet it would!
So, try not to be so serious about doing serious things and set your cold exposure intention to joy or happiness and see where it takes you.
More to follow!
I’ll be posting about this regularly on my Instagram and I hope to update you weekly here on the blog. You can learn more about how I use cold exposure as a leadership tool in my book The Process, Art, and Science of Leadership. You can also read more about the benefits of cold exposure on leadership here.
Errol Doebler is the founder of Ice Cold Leader, a leadership consulting firm. After successful careers as a Navy SEAL Platoon Commander and FBI Special Agent, Errol founded Ice Cold Leader to realize his passion of empowering great leaders and better human beings. Errol provides executive coaching, keynote speaking, and corporate retreats to individuals and teams across the world.