Taking the ?triathlon approach? in creating sustainable leadership!
I?participated in the BRW triathlon (400m swim, 10km cycle and a 4km run) about nine years ago with two wonderful women in a team called ?Two Bogans and a Leprechaun?. To date it?s still one of my proudest achievements with lessons I have carried through my life?particularly as a leader. The intention of this post is to share my top three lessons.
Before committing to the event I asked myself ?can I actually do this??. I had competed in running events in the past and loved to cycle but I was scared of the water and not a strong swimmer ? particularly in the open water.
I was assured by many people that swimming in the ocean is easier than swimming in a pool because ?the salt water makes you more buoyant?. Yeah right! This may be the case for experienced swimmers but I felt like I was swimming in a washing machine. I swallowed way too much salt water and constantly felt like I was being dragged out to sea. And if the fear of drowning wasn?t enough I also had a fear of being attacked by creatures in the water?which didn?t help when, during one training session, I swam through a school of jelly fish (resulting in burning pain up my arm).
On the day of the event I entered the water with hundreds of other excited swimmers. The training I?d done had improved my confidence but I was still under-prepared for what I experienced…I had swimmers pulling me under the water to get past; I was whacked on the head several times by arms and feet; and, it took every bit of strength to avoid hyperventilating and passing out. When I made it back to shore I was happy to be alive?and grateful for the comfort of the cycle and run legs that followed.
When I finally crossed the finish line the sense of accomplishment I felt was like nothing else I had ever experienced.
So, my top three lessons?
- Say ?yes? to things you?re not good at?then make them your first priority and practice, practice, practice!
- Focus on what you can control?and be prepared to adjust when things don?t go as planned
- Share your fears & insecurities with people around you and celebrate your accomplishments ? regardless of how insignificant you think they are
Throughout our careers we will be exposed to situations that might make us feel like we?re swimming in a washing machine – and we will need to make a decision on whether we keep going (to build our strength) or give up (to take the easier path). Becoming a sustainable leader is about recognising the things we?re not good at and persisting through the pain and discomfort until we get there.
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