Last week, I discussed three important lessons I have learned from running that can be applied to any long-term challenge. Check it out here if you missed it.
Today, in part two of the article, we will cover four more lessons that can help you be successful as you pursue your goals.
Six years ago I signed up to run my first half marathon. At the time, my goals were to raise money for charity and to try something I had never done before. I didn’t really enjoy running. In fact, I don’t think I had ever run more than a mile continuously, but I was motivated by the challenge involved.
After several months of training, I completed my first race, and I was hooked. Several years and three half marathons later, I have experienced many of the ups and downs that endurance racing has to offer. Through these experiences, I have come to understand that much of the challenge of endurance sports is mental rather than physical.
It is challenging and exhausting to put in the time and energy required to build up the physical endurance to complete a long race. Your mind can be your worst enemy as you plod your way through a long workout, always focusing your attention on the wrong things, distracting you from the steps you need to take to achieve your goal. You constantly have to fight to stay focused, motivated, and moving in the right direction.
It is not all that different from working towards any challenging, long-term goal in life.
As the end of summer approaches, my attention has naturally turned to the beginning of a new school year. There are supplies to be purchased, new teachers to meet, and schedules to coordinate. My thoughts, however, have been focused less on the tangible activities related to a new school year and more on the growth of my children.
This growth becomes particularly evident in light of the milestones they are reaching. The first day of kindergarten, new classes and subjects, rapidly increasing grade numbers. The progress is much easier to see when there are clear markers that can be observed, as opposed to the progress during the school year that often goes unnoticed.
Most people agree that one of the keys to organizational success is having an engaged workforce.
Over the years, the understanding and terminology around employee engagement has shifted. From employee satisfaction in the 1970’s and 80’s, to employee commitment, then employee engagement, and now sustained engagement.
Despite these changes in understanding, the basic approach is still the same. Use some form of employee survey to gather the opinions and thoughts of your team, develop an action plan to address deficiencies, rinse, and repeat.
Unfortunately, the results have been similarly stagnant. Despite decades of work, employees are still remarkably disengaged. According to a 2013 Gallup poll, only 13% of employees worldwide are engaged at work.
Why is that?
I’m not really much of a dancer. So, when I was at a wedding recently, I spent much of the reception doing one of my favorite activities: observing.
It was very interesting to see the ebb and flow of people and energy on the dance floor as the songs changed. At times, just a few people would be on the floor, dancing with slightly disinterested expressions, and at other times excited dancers would come running from across the room squealing “That’s my song!”.
The significant difference in emotions between these two situations caught my attention.