Endurance, Fitness and Leadership

medium_4065213505It feels like we are living our lives at a break-neck speed. There is so much around us that is clamoring for our attention. Many times, it feels like I am just treading water trying to survive. There is a resignation that there just isn’t enough time to go around. It feels like I am participating in a marathon-like endurance event.

Back when I was in my happy-go-lucky at twenty’s, life was one big party that was regularly interrupted by work. Every evening, I was meeting with one group of friends or another. I was fit as a fiddle and could perform many physical activities at the drop of a hat. One fine Saturday, I woke up and remembered that our church had a fund-raising run at 10 o’clock. Two hours later, without any preparation at all, I ran fifteen kilometers. Afterwards, my body felt like it had gone through a meat grinder. In two days, however, all the aches and pains were gone. That is the power of youth that can overcome any endurance test.

What I do with the time I have determines whether I’ll grow as a leader or not. [TweetMe]

About a month ago, fifteen or so years after this event, I was part of a group of men that went climbing an innocuous-looking hill. We were to climb over an elevation of 400 meters (to 1,900 meters above sea level). It all began well. We were engrossed in conversation and the prospect of conquering this mole-hill with relative ease. The reality was different. Half-way up the hill, I discovered it was a battle for endurance. I was out of breath, my body was battered, and my spirit completely crushed. I was giving up.

My salvation was on a small yet significant set of decisions: stop, rest, refocus. This redeemed the day and I was able to catch up with everyone else and complete the climb.

Now, I had approached the climb with my twenty-five year old heart. However, I had over the years neglected an important part of my being. I had not kept my body in good physical shape. Of course, I have many hypotheses that could explain and excuse my condition. I had a career to build, a family to bring up…

What I had done was to commit the grave mistake of breaking up my life into unconnected compartments. This was plain foolish! I had forgotten was that there is only one of me. It was a major wake-up call. I needed to ensure that my physical fitness is looked into.

Leaders take time to stop, rest, and refocus. You can’t lead from confusion. [TweetMe]

I started small and joined my wife in her power-walks. It is amazing how the walking affected my mind. I felt more alive and alert. Why had I neglected my body to keep my body in shape?

The people you lead will do great things because of the influence you have on them and not the controls you impose. John C. Maxwell says this, “I believe that success is within the reach of just about everyone. But I also believe that personal success without leadership ability brings only limited effectiveness. A person’s impact is only a fraction of what it could be with effective leadership. The higher you climb, the more you need leadership. The greater the impact you want to make, the greater your influence needs to be. Whatever you accomplish is restricted by your ability to lead others.”

How then can you become a balanced leader? To influence others into leadership, you have to keep up with your leadership fitness. There is only one of you and it is impossible to split yourself! Just like my bravado reminded me when I was going up that hill, it is utterly important that you fully understand your season in life. You may have to jettison some things for other people to grow and make very careful choices.

What will you have to give up for your leadership to thrive?

[photo credit: Randy Le’Moine Photography via photopin cc]

Certified Professional Coach, Communication Specialist & Author

I help motivated but overwhelmed individuals and organizations regain their purpose to lead so they can focus on what matters most to build a transformational legacy.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Great reminder Kimunya. I recently did my development plan with my coach, using a life wheel exercise. Result – physical and spiritual development need work! But I too believe in the read-through to leadership.

    • Good on you David! My spiritual got a boost last month, helped me change my perspective on a number of things. The physical is the painful one right now. Fortunately, I don’t feel as sore today, but there’s some running and stretched to do later today. Yay!