Off the Beaten Path – Principles for Business and Life
I have a passion for running. My passion for running is not about how fast I can run, but it is the experience of doing it. I can be anywhere in the world and I can put on a pair of running shoes and hit the road. I explore and see things that the average person will never see because my legs typically take me off the beaten path.
I run for the health benefits of exercising. Nine years ago I set a goal that I would return home to Colorado and run the Pikes Peak Ascent or Pikes Peak Marathon every year until I could no longer run.
Sometimes I feel that I have had as many running injuries as the miles logged in 33 years of running, but I have learned from those injuries/mistakes and continue to work hard every week at not repeating them. Here is my process:
Self Awareness: Carefully listening to my body and acting on the information I have.
Educating myself: Asking questions of those who are better runners than I and reading about the best running techniques
Patience: Not pushing myself too hard too fast (Although I feel young at heart, I do have physical limits)
Control: Being deliberate about the time I put into training and practicing
Persistence: Sticking with it and not giving up when I feel like I can’t take another step
I believe that to improve or change anything in our work and personal lives, we must have a high sense of self awareness. We have to look at ourselves from another perspective and take in and act on what we observe.
Be honest about who we really are and stop pretending to be someone we’re not. And educating yourself – it’s not about learning trigonometry; it’s about seeking another’s perspective, reading for improvement and becoming more astute in a field of interest, whether it’s: parenting, rock climbing or managing a team of consultants.
Patience and control go hand-in-hand. We never make decisions or solve problems exactly the same way someone else would, and we don’t always do things on the same time-table, either. Being deliberate about what we do and giving ourselves time to do it is essential to success.
Do you recall the last time you rushed to judgment and made a poor decision? Then you looked back and said, “I shouldn’t have acted so quickly, I should have taken more time to make that decision. What was I thinking?” Trust me, we all do it.
If you raise your level of patience and heighten your control, it will pay off. It takes practice.
Persistence is critical. This is where the proverbial running shoe meets the trail. No matter how beaten or defeated you feel, never give up.
If your boss tells you that you made a mistake, and doesn’t say “you’re fired,” reflect on what was discussed, figure out what to change, and move forward with a renewed positive attitude. (If you are fired, ask the same questions, but start looking for a new job.)
Finally, what about passion? I believe that our passion is where our heart is. If you have no passion in your work life or anything that has to do with your work, then your heart isn’t really in it.
Reconsider if you are using your passion in the right way. You have to explore it, just like running in the forest and finding something you would never see unless you went off the beaten path.