People regularly ask me why I continue to participate in endurance sports. These endurance sports range from half marathons, to biking, and more. Endurance sports push my body and mind to the limits.
You have to prepare to succeed in any such endeavor. Long runs require many hours of training and conditioning when you don’t feel like practicing.
Every time I put on my running shoes, hop on my bike, or prepare to endure for a long time, I think of how it prepares me for leadership.
Leadership Is An Endurance Sport
Leadership isn’t easy. You will have to train your body and mind to push past the barriers you’ve placed in your life. These can be your thoughts of not being good enough, not having the proper training, and dealing with difficult people.
The more I train for half marathons and other events, the more I realize how similar it is to leadership. Leadership is an endurance sport because:
You have to continue to train or you lose what you have:
If you want to continue to do endurance sports, you can’t teach, train, train, and then stop. If you do this, you lose all the momentum you’ve gained. The muscle you’ve built will be forfeited and you’ll be back to square one.
The same goes for leadership.
You can’t study to become a leader only to stop learning once you’ve gained the title. You have to continually practice your leadership skills. Don’t stop working on becoming a better leader.
You will feel like giving up:
I hit a wall at mile 20 of my 26.2 mile full marathon. My body and mind began to tell me that I couldn’t go the additional 6.2 miles I needed to complete the full marathon. I pushed on anyway with the encouragement of my wife. I was able to go the rest of the way even though I felt like I couldn’t and I wanted to give up.
Leadership hits you hard. There will be trials and tribulations when you feel like you can’t make one more decision. You can. You can keep going, deciding, and leading. Don’t give up because you feel like you can’t give anything else. You will be able to complete your journey.
You will get hurt:
Training for anything endurance based takes time and effort. More than that, you will have to overcome injuries. Your feet will hurt, your body will ache, and you will be stressed. Sounds familiar, right? You’ll face injuries that you’ll have to push through or rest and heal. You have to learn the difference.
You’ll get hurt in leadership, too. Your employees will disrespect you, choose to do the wrong things, or business decisions will go bad. That all hurts. Learning how to navigate these aspects of leadership will help you get through them.
Leadership isn’t for the faint of heart. You will have to endure like an endurance athlete. Every day might feel like a slog. You may have challenging people to deal with. Your mind may play tricks on you.
Keep going! Keep enduring! Your people are counting on you.
You can do this. There are people cheering for like the people who cheer on people who run marathons, bike long distances, or complete triathlons.
You’ve got this as long as you remember you’re in an endurance sport.