When I Accidentally Made the CEO Jealous (of My Treadmill)

Have you ever committed something just because it feels like the right thing? Well, I did. On a pleasant and relatively unbusy day, I had an epiphany. I have been sitting in my home office or office at work and just staring at my laptop, even if I would had a chance to, for example walk during the meeting. Why, on earth, why?

There will be enough meetings in a week where I didn’t need to present anything, and talking or commenting was the only thing that was expected from me. So I end up agreeing with myself that for the next 90 days, I would walk at least 30 minutes a day. And since we have a treadmill at home, rain or shine, there are no excuses.

Endorphins and Clarity

Several studies show how exercise stimulates the production of endorphins, which help boost energy levels and enhance mental clarity. It’s also proven that taking a break from work to engage in physical activity can help alleviate stress and boost mood. And I must say, after one month and 20 days, the clarity is noticeable and addictive. If you belong to a category who walks around the house when you talk with someone on the phone, try once to stay put. It’s torture! When I try, it feels like my brain stops working.

At this point, I have to give the enormous credit to my closest colleagues, who have put up with my latest follies. Instead of asking me to stop or looking at me like a weirdo, they have started the meetings by asking if I had already done the walk. Gotta love them! It’s easier to be sweaty, reddish, and panting while you are among the people who support you.

Sweaty and Panting in Meetings

We have ongoing leadership training for all If leaders. It consists of, for example, workshops, pod calls, and individual coaching. From a walker’s point of view, a workshop like this is a heavenly opportunity to follow discussions, participate in the chat in break-out rooms, see the material, and listen to comments while walking on the treadmill! So not so long ago I put on my walking shoes, set up my laptop, water bottle, and headset on the treadmill, and started walking, just to find out the day’s sponsor was our CEO, Morten Thorsrud.

In any other meeting, I wouldn’t have given it a second thought, but for some reason, and a bit unexpextedly for me, I almost got cold feet, and for half of the second, I considered hopping out of the treadmill and walking back to my office. Luckily, meeting our CEO earlier made me quite ensured I would not get into trouble by walking on the treadmill during the workshop.

Sharing My Awkward Moments with Pride

I like to share my fuck ups, and I consider that a good thing. With my level of risk-taking you will have punch of stories to share. I am also used to taking the heat of an awkward moment.

When high-level corporate directors or C-suite participates in the meeting, one could anticipate increase of formality, heightened self-consciousness, and maybe even nervousness in the workshop. That happened to us too. While our workshop continued and there were long silences. At this point someone might ask if I always need to be the one breaking the silence?

Aware of the situation, with a smile on my reddish face panting between the words, I bravely opened my microphone and camera to tell my points. For a split moment, the facilitator was thunderstruck but pulled himself together and continued to ask for comments. When our CEO started talking, I noticed I got a bit nervous. I knew my brain functions better when moving around, but did I say something stupid? It wouldn’t be the first time… and then he said ” I’m actually a bit jealous of Saara’s treadmill.”

Why Being the Crazy Woman on the Treadmill is a Good Thing

I was both puzzled and proud of myself. I dared to stick with my plan, which works for me and makes me a better, brighter, and more energetic colleague. I wasn’t ashamed to be different, but somehow it wasn’t that easy. Being different rarely is.

Oh yes, my fellow leaders will most likely remember me as the crazy woman on the treadmill. But I will remember this as moment when I dared to show an example of how a different approach can also be functional and even a viable option.

Btw, I did invite him to join me for a walk. Good for me! It’s not every day I get to ask our CEO to have a walk with me!