Tomorrow, I will run the Richmond Marathon. Endurance running is hobby and a side passion. It keeps me healthy and goal oriented. It makes me choose healthy eating and living as I approach 50, and I just love it.
Once I began marathoning, I realized that there are so many parallels between endurance running and running a business, between running and raising a family, and between running and leading even a church. For example,
Running Require Prior Planning – My only significant injury occurred this year. After sitting through 4 hours of meetings, I put on my running gear and took off for a normal run. It started uphill, and at its peak, I tore my calf muscle. I should have taken a few moments to get some extra hydration and to stretch. 5 minutes of preparation would have saved me 2-3 weeks of pain. Leading your family, your business, or your church requires the same.
Take the time to study, to think through your day, to plan it…just don’t sprint into the family, business, spiritual equivalent of a torn calf muscle.
Training Prepares You for Challenges – One of most effective marathon training exercises are called intervals. This is when you alternate between sprinting and light running. These are intense bursts of activity coupled with a period of recovery. This discipline prepares the body for those long moments of endurance late in the marathon and enable the body to push at the end.
Leading your family, business, or church requires the same. Preparing for challenges does not mean being pessimistic. It means scanning the horizon for seasonal obstacles. It means prepping for upcoming changes in your schedules or your staff or your facility. It means writing down barriers to growth and putting together plans to break through them.
Training with Others Makes You Stronger– A marathon requires at least 4-5 twenty mile runs (if not longer). Running a few of those with a friend or training partner is essential. It staves off boredom, provides motivation, and keeps the long training cycles fun. There are also a million tips to learn from someone else.
Leading your family, business, or church is easier when training with others. Find a mentor or find an associate. You need both. Find someone who is older and wise to give you insight to avoid mistakes, and find a friend who is walking the same path as you – that way you won’t feel alone.
Approaching the daunting leadership of family, work, and spiritual life is hard. Training for something like a marathon or your equivalent helps both you be healthy in every area of life. You don’t have to be an endurance runner to do these things. A couch to 5k program teaches the same lesson. Walking regularly does the same. No matter what, all of your life requires planning, preparing, and training. Hit those 3 in one area and be more prepared for the others.
Gordon Duncan runs, writes, preaches, and consults. You can learn more about his writing and consulting for the business world at www.prosightsuccessblog.com, and you can find his Optometric business system at www.prosightsuccesss.com. Additionally, you can find his resources for the church at www.simplesermonsolution.com
Gordon Duncan is an award-winning educator, salesman, teacher, manager, and writer. He has taught in the public school system, lobbied for school's accreditation, managed eye clinics, led sales' teams, and also publishes books on theology, church, and culture.