We are in the last few days of training for those competitors who are taking part in the Ironman Challenge 2011 in Penticton, British Columbia, Canada. Apparently they call this town where I am now living “Ironman City” and I am sure I will find out exactly why on Sunday when the Challenge takes place.
There has been an ever-increasing number of superfit people, running, cycling and swimming in and around Penticton. It makes my two hours at the gym, in air-conditioned surroundings, seem quite pitiful really.
As I watch these men and women go through their training programmes, cycling up hills that I could not walk up, I am impressed by their endurance and stamina. Also, their mind-game. However, I have to remind myself that it has taken them years to get to this point and they all started out with ‘baby steps’.
Leadership can be like the training for the Ironman Challenge. For many who are in leadership positions, you didn’t get to be a leader immediately. You had to prove yourself in many situations, often which called you to be, firstly, a follower, where you learned the ropes. Learning requires effort, dedication, repetition and stretching. No two days are the same. You learn through a variety of real-life scenarios, which stretch and challenge you, and call you to go beyond what you feel you are capable of.
Not much difference from training for Ironman really then?!
So, how’s your training going? Are you pursuing leadership? Are you ready to be a follower first? Have you established a ‘training plan’ which involves setting aside an amount of time each day dedicated to learning from an established leader or leaders via books, CDs, seminars, videos? Have you found a mentor? I hope you can answer “yes” to these questions and that you are well on the way to becoming the leader that you can be.
To all the elite athletes racing this Sunday, I wish you all the very best. To all you budding leaders, I strongly urge you to keep learning, no matter how old you are. And may you lead with wisdom, sensitivity and courage – always with a humble spirit.
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