Where Leaders Come to Think

Leadership 13.1



Have you every had one of those ideas that seemed good five months earlier? You know ideas like, climbing a mountain or running your first half-marathon. For many, these types of challenges never actually materialize but for some, like me this week, you find yourself 6 miles into a 13.1 mile run wondering what you will be blogging about once your body heals.

IF your body heals.

Dreaming is the easy part. Making dreams come true is where the real work of life begins. I have a friend who watches Duck Dynasty and says wise things to me like, “enjoy the journey.”

The problem is that I am a destination man. I like getting to my destination – enjoying myself – and then getting back.

Running 13.1 miles doesn’t offer that kind of luxury.

Once you start – you are committed, and if your lucky a medal will commemorate all your hard work. But that medal always feels far away – until it’s over.

Along my journey, I discovered some important ideas about myself, my grit and the power of laughter. Running has opened my eyes to several leadership principles. Principles that I believe can assist anyone in becoming a transformational leader.

Leadership 13.1

  • 13.1 Proved My Comfort Zone is a Killer.

Running a half marathon has taught me much about the control my comfort zone has over my life. I have learned that even during my most intense training sessions my body always looks to find that place of comfort. Sure I may be getting in better shape, but all the while my body’s goal seems to be, find comfort at all cost. Learning that the comfort zone is actually a killer of human potential has me thinking about my next run.

“Life Begins at the end of your comfort zone.” – Neale Donald Walsh

You see when we learn that the comfort zone we yearn for is a state of mind rather than a place we can begin to grow. By understanding how to move out of ones “comfort zones” and into ones “growth zones” we learn to achieve our dreams.

I like achieving dreams.

  • 13.1 Reinforced My Beliefs About the Power of Grit.

Grit that is true to be exact. What I found during my run is that it’s a lot easier to write about grit than to have it. At about mile 8 in my 13.1 mile journey, I began to wonder if I could make it. I wondered because 8 miles is a long way to run, and 5.1 miles is a long way to go.

Have you ever found yourself in this predicament?

At the end of the day, the dream of completing a half marathon seemed romantic. The truth is that it is a long distance, and there was a lot of work needed to be done to reach the finish line.BrileyRun

No, matter your dreams you must be resolute to work. Grit is the substance of achieved dreams.

  • 13.1 Taught Me To Laugh Under Pressure.

Early on there was a sign that caught my attention it said, “Chuck Norris Never Ran a Marathon!” True or not, because I am a fan of Chuck Norris jokes, this really made me chuckle. Then there was the gruesome hill we had to get over. About the time I was resorting to labored self-talk, I read another sign it said, “Get Over It, It’s Just A HILL!” (LOL!) Finally as we were finishing up with only a few not so short miles to go – another sign, “Worst Parade Ever!”

I completely agreed, it was the worst parade ever.

There is something significant about keeping a healthy perspective when it comes to the hard work of life. These signs reminded me to laugh out loud.

“Laughter is the tonic, the relief, the surcease for pain.” – Charlie Chaplin

Whether your goals involve 13.1 or 26.2 miles, there are lessons to be learned in the efforts of life. Crossing the finish line with my Son Briley was a powerful reminder that dreams can come true – if I am willing to apply the necessary energy to bring them to life. We have already signed up for another half marathon in November of this year. I figure rather than running one full marathon – two half’s make a whole. 26.2 here we come…kind of anyway.

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  1. RAB

    You ever go on a vacation by car and you are in such a hurry to get there that after you reach your destination, you can’t describe the beauty of anything along the way? Like the hills, meadows, mountains, lakes, wildlife….? I contend we are instructed to enjoy the journey using our five senses (Psalm 66:5 See, 1Timothy 6:17 Smell, Matthew 22:39 Feel, James 1:17 Hear, Ecclesiastes 3:13 Taste).
    If we Don’t Stop Believing that’s easy to do. That’s a line from one of my favorite Journey songs too. It is analogous to starting believing and beginning our life journey with a full-time running mate after being saved through faith. In life the finish line is having lived an honoring life absent a lot of regrets. In a ½ marathon the finish line is having finished the race absent a lot of regrets and being honored for your efforts. In both instances there is a journey. The journey includes everything we feel, see, smell, hear, and taste. We humans have been equipped with a chemical produced in our bodies called endorphins. When released, regardless of the journey we are on, these chemicals can increase our mood and decrease our pain depending on what is needed. My favorite of the senses is Taste. You ever have an interaction with someone that left a bad taste in your mouth? When exercising, like running a ½ marathon, we control that bad taste in our mouth. We actually control the taste of our own perspiration running down our faces. If it’s salty we’ve consumed excessive carbs. If it’s sweet we’ve consumed excessive sugar. If it’s sour we’ve consumed excessive dairy. If it’s vinegar like we’ve consumed excessive protein. If it’s thick we’ve consumed excessive breads and pastas. Just like we control the potential bad taste in our mouth when exercising, we also control that bad taste in our mouth from interactions with others. We are told there will be offenses, but if we keep that line from the Journey song in mind “don’t stop believing” we have total control over whether those offenses stay with us. I for one say, enjoy the journey!

    • Mark Mathia
      Mark Mathia05-14-2013

      Roger this is great! I’ve never thought of my sweat that way but from now on I might as well eat lots of candy. (You know for the a better tasting sweat.) Great thoughts, and yes you are the one who always encourages me to join the journey.

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