As part of the adidas MDE (Manager Development Experience) training program, after learning about the Growth Mindset, it was time to put the theory in practice and prove to ourselves we could learn new things.

We had to choose a new activity, a new skill, a new sport… something new to learn. And we had to commit to working on it every day during a month. I spent some time thinking about what to do. I really wanted to succeed in it, so I had to choose something ambitious but realistic. And I also wanted to take the opportunity of the MDE to learn something I really wanted. I decided to go for two.

The challenges

  • One sport that I wanted to start practising with my dogs: canicross

  • And one activity I also wanted to start because I thought it would help me to enjoy and relax: gardening

To start with canicross, I read a book and lots of posts, watched some videos and bought the needed equipment. 5 days after the challenge started, I was running 100-200 meters series with my dogs.

In parallel, I started with the gardening challenge. First, I spent some time thinking and planning. I knew nothing about plants; so I wanted to have clear what I was going to plant and where.

The first question I made myself was “why am I doing this?”. My answers:

  • Because I want to work with my hands
  • Because I want to grow vegetables to eat
  • Because I want to have a beautiful garden

Having this clear, I could move to set the targets:

  1. Build an area in my garden to grow aromatic and medicinal plants, and flowers
  2. Build an area in my garden to grow vegetables: for now, only tomatoes, lettuces and strawberries
  3. Build support areas to grow seeds and store tools

Now I needed knowledge, seeds and tools. Not a big mystery, I bought the seeds and the tools. But the best part has been the search for knowledge. Of course, I have read lots of things on the internet; but in this case, I took the opportunity of asking for help and advice to people near me. My mother and my mother in law have taught a lot to me. My mother has been my 24×7 support service. Also, my neighbours gave me a lot of advice. I am very grateful.

And I started to work

The flowers area
The vegetable area

My mobile seedbed

A bit of daily work and patience

And growing!

And results!

7 weeks: salad from my own cherry tomatoes and lettuces!
2 months
3 months
3 months

Regarding canicross, unfortunately, I had to give up after 2 weeks because I had pain in my right knee. My dogs were learning very fast. Molly, the German Sheppard was enjoying every day and running in front of me very motivated. Max, the mix Collie, is very fearful, so in the beginning, he was not enjoying too much. He looked at me like asking “why are we doing this?”. But after 5-6 days, he started to look calm and was running peacefully beside me. So here, I was the one not making progress. I am quite sure I will give another try to it once my leg is fully recovered.

Max and Molly

My take-aways

  • I consider the goal of the challenge fully accomplished. I have learnt something new that I’m still doing (and enjoying!).
  • It has been so great for me to have these new conversations around seeds and plants, about weather and seasons, with my mom and my neighbours. I have found beautiful to connect with them.
  • I was right. I needed to make things with my hands. Gardening is helping me a lot to reduce stress. The plants and the dogs make me disconnect completely from the IT/Tech world and more connected to a real, natural, world. Maybe it sounds typical to you but honestly, I feel that.

The challenge I didn’t dare

I was absolutely impressed by the challenges taken by my colleagues in the MDE. All of them were great. But, I have to highlight the one my colleague Raul took. He decided to quit smoking! And 6 months later, he is still a non-smoker person. He has been the man who bravely took the challenge I didn’t dare. But his example, his success, has been in my mind since then. And one month ago, I also quit. After 16 years, I’m now a non-smoker person.