In a long distance road race, in leadership, in your career and in life in general, there seems to be three basic approaches: You can start with a blaze! Running as hard and as fast as you possibly can and then attempt to “hold on” during the latter stages. It is just not possible for any human being, whatever their capacity, to start at full speed and to keep it up for the distance.
A Second approach would be to start out rather cautiously and moderately over the first part of the journey and then, because you have “saved up” some energy, be able to complete the second half of the distance more quickly and strongly! There are those who would label people following this approach as “late bloomers.”
Looking around and observing leaders who have covered some distance in life, I notice that most have apparently taken the first option. Many are tired and are barely holding on. Some are literally stumbling forward without any zeal or vision left! -They certainly did not start out that way… Some where referred to as “movers and shakers”, not very long ago. The distance have taken it’s toll.
It might be second nature for passionate, ambitious young leaders to start out guns a blazing. And to tell the truth, when scouting for younger leaders, that is exactly the kind of person that many leaders are looking for: Energetic, driven, self-starting, go-getters…! But how do you look after yourself in the long run? How do you make sure that you can stay the course?
Most athletic coaches say it is best to go for a third option: Maintain an even, consistent and sustainable pace throughout the race. A pace that will enable you the to go the full distance and still have some energy left at the end! Some may describe this third option as boring. -“Who needs energy at the end of the race? What for?”
Our strengths, capacity, personality type and general attitude towards life, will ensure that we look at these three approaches differently. -All I know is this: I need to pace myself. I need to make sure that I do what I’m passionate about in such a way, that I would be able to keep on doing and enjoying it!
No one else can or will do this for me: I have to establish what a sustainable pace looks like for me, and I have to keep on keeping it! I suspect the same is true for you…….