Running and Leadership – Commitment

Leadership is Commitment

1st of 5

I decided to begin training for a 5K road race when I was 48 years old. I had trouble running from one driveway to the next one. This was a major change in my life, however, I was committed to succeed.

Two years later, I had finished over 50 5K races and was training for a half marathon.

My commitment was to, #1 not finish last, and #2 to finish without stopping. I accomplished that goal with every race. I am really bad at this, however, running is a discipline in my life that is important. When I run, I feel better, have more energy, and get more accomplished each day. Running is also my quiet time when I can think and work out problems.

Yesterday, while running, I decided to write about the connection between running and leadership. For the next 5 days, I will post 5 blogs with ideas for leadership.

First, you do not need to have a big team to feel that you are a leader. My simple qualifying points to be considered a leader are as follows:

You are a leader if…

  1.  …you get things done
  2. …you know how things get done
  3. …you influence other people

Here are some thoughts that work for running (or any type of exercise) and leadership.

  • Commit to a goal, make a schedule and follow it
  • Follow the plan, even on days when you don’t want to
  • Starting is the key to finishing, but not the whole answer – you have to finish
  • Don’t quit – you can make it
  • You don’t have to be first
  • If you keep it up, eventually you will get a second wind and finish with a flare
  • When you finish, the sense of accomplishment will empower your day
  • Set your own pace and don’t let others tell you that it’s not good

When I ran my last half marathon, I was almost 65, so I came up with the list below about being an older runner. Being older is no longer an excuse to not try.

You can tell that you are an older runner when:

  • In the first mile, your body tells you that you should be home in bed.
  • Your excuse for not being in the lead of the race is that being behind the pace car will make you feel “exhausted.”
  • In the second mile, your body tells you that you should be home in bed.
  • You think you won the race, because you ran longer than anyone else.
  • In the sixth mile, your body tells you that you should be home in bed.
  • The race walkers pass you by, saying “Good job, sir.” (sir is the clue)
  • A runner passes by, saying that he would be running faster, except for the knee transplants.
  • In the eighth mile, your body tells you that you should be home in bed.
  • Your running doesn’t really make you live longer – it just makes life seem longer.
  • Everyone shouts your name, cheering you on, and you think it’s because you are famous in your old age – until you realize that your name is printed on your racing bib.
  • It’s the cheapest form of entertainment you can think of.
  • You run because it’s your only chance to hear heavy breathing again.
  • In the last mile of the race, your body tells you that you should be home in bed.

Many of the excuses I hear for not trying are dumber than the list above, but people tell them to me as if the reasons make good sense.

What’s your reason for not trying?

Hugh Ballou
The Transformational Leadership Strategist

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(c) 2012 Hugh Ballou. All rights reserved.