Leadership Advance

Leadership Thoughts for Life Long Learners

Archive for the category “Leadership Lessons in Running”

Do Not Try Harder

Curiosity is a value that opens new worlds to us.  New experiences, challenges and opportunities await you when you develop the art of curiosity.  I enjoy the familiar and comfortable as much as anyone else, but I have worked to incorporate into my life intentional curiosity.  It was this curiosity which led me to decide to try to run a Marathon last year.  If I were to ask what my motivation for signing up for this Marathon was, I would have to say it was the simple answer of curiosity.  What if I tried and succeeded?  What if I was a natural talent?  What if I fell in love with running?  I would never know unless I tried.

While I have always been in pretty good shape and had even maintained a disciplined exercise routine the year or two prior to signing up for the Marathon, I really did not recognize what I was about to dive into.  It became glaringly obvious that you do not just decide to try to run a Marathon one day.  You can’t just wake up one morning and decide you are going to try to run 26.2 miles in hopes that you will discover you are a natural at it and will fall in love with it. In my experience, people that wake up and try such feats usually end up never accomplishing what they set out to do, or worse, they injure themselves, sometimes permanently.  This is why I say that trying is not good enough!  Even saying you will try harder next time is not going to advance you.  The answer comes in the form of Training, not Trying.

The transition from Trying to Training separates the novice from the elite.  While it is true, there are some things in life that we pick up one day and try, only to discover we have natural talent. Nobody ever became great at something just because they tried it one day and found they had natural talent.  Natural Talent must embrace the philosophy of Training for it to ever produce sustainable and unnatural results.

I wonder how your life would change if you embraced the mindset of training rather than trying?  What if every new experience was not viewed as just something you are trying, but a real life laboratory from which you could learn lessons to prepare you in life for the future?  I wonder how your business or organization would transform if you did not just approach each day by trying harder, but rather focused on lessons presented to you each day so you could progressively become better?

The beauty of viewing each day as a day to Train as opposed to a day to Try is that trying harder will eventually cause you to lose your energy and you will burnout. Training takes each day in stride and you recognize the value of bad days and good days, because each day is a day to learn something which can be applied to your tomorrow to create a better world.  I challenge you as a leader to not try harder, but Train Better!  Oh, and just in case you were wondering….. I completed my first full Marathon in 4 hours and 38 minutes and have already signed up for another one this fall with a goal of doing better based on my training, not trying.



Prep Today Will Be Exposed Tomorrow

Leadership lessons can be found all around us in our ordinary lives.  One of the greatest ways to develop as a leader is learning to be aware of the lessons that present themselves in your daily routines.  One of the great lessons I have discovered through my running routines is very simple, yet profound.  If I live by this mantra every day it has the power and potential to revolutionize my life.  Your Preparation Today Will Be Exposed Tomorrow!

There is nothing more miserable than signing up for a race, just to get to the start line with the knowledge that you did not train properly for the race and you are hoping for a miracle.  From the start line you typically can not tell you has properly prepared and who hasn’t, but I have discovered that your training and preparation is not as critical at the start line as it will be when you reach the half way point of your race.  Those who have not prepared properly will have to slow down to a crawl and many times bow out of the race altogether.  In addition, they will have to nurse potential injuries which could set them back for months before they can race again. It is at the half way point through the finish line that your level of preparation is exposed.

While it is a miserable experience to enter a race with the knowledge of improper training, it is equally exhilarating to enter a race knowing that all of your preparation and training is about to be exposed and you are mentally and physically in a place to not only run and complete the race, but own it.  The hard work, the long runs, the proper nutrition and hydration will all be exposed in due time.  The hard work that no one else sees is what prepares you for the glory every one else desires.  If you prepared yesterday for the challenge you will face today, you can walk confidently into the challenge.

One of the things which separates the effective leader from the ineffective is not what they do when the spotlight turns on them, but rather what they did the day before the spotlight focused on them.  In that moment, when all eyes are on you as the leader, you will be exposed.  So, what will be revealed about you?  Will people find that you have done the homework, you have put in the long hours when nobody was watching, you have trained when everyone else was looking?  Or will people recognize that you were hoping for a miracle to occur without ever lifting a finger?  What do you need to do today that will make tomorrow’s challenge something you can own as opposed to something that will ultimately own you?


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