What trail runnning has taught me about leadership? Yeah that’s an odd sentiment, let alone a prfound starting point for a bolg. Sometimes my greatest profoundenty comes to me during the engagment of what otherwise may seem to be thoughtles endeavors. So i was trail running when this idea came to me.
As an entreprenueral leader, a church planter, and a creative self-starter, I’ve learned some practices that help keep my head afloat. The other day I was on a trainng run, prepapring for a 13 mile trail rce through Kentucky’s stunning Red River Gorge. I’ve been road running most of the year, but now it’s time to venture off the beaten path into some rugged terrain to prove my internal prowess still matches my exteanal fortitude. Trail running has tested both. But, even more importantly it has taught me life lessons. ergo…
- be adaptable
I bought my new pair of shoes. I threw on my running gear. I set my course. And it started raining. I hate running in the rain. So, I went to the Kentucky Coffee Tree instead…for a little while. After the rain stopped I ventured out and started my run. Only now, the trail was saturated with mud and slick spots.
Trail running, as with life comes with unexpected circumstances. It may be circumstances that cause you to re-think timing and/or course. It doesn’t mean you have to quit or relegate yourself to anything less. If you keep yourself adaptible you can switch it up and keep moving. The thing about adaptability is that it means you may need to change with the changes. I drive a 4×4, sport a pretty grizzly beard, and raise chickens. That wasn’t always me. But, I planted a church in a community that this fits in. I had to adapt to the culture in which I was sent to serve. Apatability has saved me more than once.
- be amiable
You don’t always have to change and adapt, yet you may have to be amiable. The difference? Adaptaion is a change, amiability is the ability to bend without changing. In trail running it’s important to know the course and the destination. If not you will soon find yourself lost and GPS’ing your way home. Know the destination, yet ALWAYS be ready with 3 steps to change your immediate course. I have bit the dust on occasions, albeit a rock or stump that went unseen in too little of time. This happens, But, in order to keep your pace, to keep your step and footing, be able to bend to the trail and terrain in order to dart and pivot as needed when these unexpected delimas show themselves. I have had my personality assessed on several occassions for certaon missions egncies that I’ve served with. The finding is alway the same. 50/50 intravert/extravert. What this means is, that given the occassion and the need, I am just as comfortable being the center of attention and life of the party as I am being the quiet loner, isolated from the crowd. I can lead in front or in back. I am able to do this becuase I am amiable. I can bend without changing.
- be applicable
I’ll be homnest, I’ll drop a few dimes in good shoes. If I’m train running, I want a very specific brand, heel strike, sole thickness, toe guard, etc. Very different than my road runing shoes. The way that I train is very different as well. How I train and how a dress is in accordance with what I’m training for. My shoes are relevant to the terrain. I see a lot of people skipping relevancy for “practicality”. Example. I visited a church plant over the weekend. The new church established themselves in the deep urban, spray painted jungle of inner-Cincinnati. During the week they do a great job of engaging the community and byilding relationships. And then, on Sunday monring they attempt to stir awake the community with a cookie cut, traditional service. No one attends to their surprise. They’re not being relevant. They’re wearing slip ons and trying to trail run. Finf what fits for what you’re doing. Find what fit’s for what or who you’re trying to reach. Be applicable to the area.
I could go on and on with parallels and metaphors to intersect my two great passions. That’s not the point. In the end, it’s about being a better leader, and being better at doing what you love to do. Sport and life, neither are unilateral. Take these few tips to help you circumvent your next venture and come out on top as a success instead of bitng the dust and dropping out.