Leadership is an endurance activity. Achieving peak leadership fitness requires self-awareness, goal setting, following a game plan, and overcoming challenges.
As an endurance athlete and someone who has devoted his professional career to leadership development, I have realized some amazing parallels between physical fitness and leadership fitness. Both are journeys into self-discovery. You must set goals, have a game plan, and put in the work in order to achieve optimal results. You will also need to navigate obstacles along your journey.
Two friends – Sandra and Kelly – set a goal to run a marathon together. They were college friends who moved to different towns. They didn’t see each other as often as they would like and welcomed this opportunity to reconnect.
Both led active lifestyles, yet neither had ever run a race over six miles. So, for both this was an ambitious, stretch goal outside of their comfort zone. They identified a race that allowed them eight months to prepare.
Although there were some early similarities in how they prepared for the race, each ultimately took a different path that yielded different results. They each bought their own copy of a first timers guide to marathons with several practical exercises designed to build strength and endurance for the long road ahead. They also both joined a local running club in their town. Both developed a plan. However, the similarities ended here.
Sandra read the book from cover to cover within a week, and she immediately put her plan into action. Her plan incorporated running, strength training, yoga, and rest days. She ran with her local running group once a week. She got to know many of the other local runners. Several had completed marathons, so she asked them for tips and advice. She modified her diet to support her new energy requirements. She kept a journal documenting her fitness activities and how she felt. Not every run Sandra did was great, but she learned something each time she ran. From day one, she had a ‘bring it on’ mindset and fitness became part of her regular routine.