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Taking What You Learn Training for a Marathon and Applying it in the Boardroom

April 18, 2011

[adrotate block=”1″]Preparing to run a marathon and actually following through with your mission takes determination and focus, in addition to skills and dexterity similar to that of a successful leader.  Leadership skill sets are needed in many aspects of life outside of the boardroom and we tend to overlook that we, as individuals are showcasing leadership traits when we set out to accomplish our own personal goals—i.e. running a marathon.

We all know the ancient Greek legend of Philippides and his epic run from Marathon to Athens which led to the modern-day running of marathons. Today marks the 115th Boston Marathon (the world’s oldest annual marathon and one of the world’s best-known road racing events). As with any 26.2 mile journey, running a marathon requires training both physically and mentally to endure the arduous voyage to the finish line.

According to Art Petty in his blog titled Leadership and the Marathon Runner: 7 Words to Lead By he says thatThe only thing more challenging than training to compete as a distance runner might just be starting a new business. Both activities require fierce dedication, focus, discipline and sheer raw tenacity.” Whether leading a new or existing organization or prepping for a marathon, you need to have:

  • Goals
  • Discipline
  • Focus
  • Tenacity; and
  • Adaptability

Successfully leading an organization draws many comparisons to running and finishing a marathon.  For one thing, neither one is a sprint nor a goal reached overnight. Lots of time and effort needs to be put in—it’s a long-term process of developing.  Former Olympian and 2009 Women in Leadership Summit keynote speaker, Marilyn King encourages people to engage in practice to accelerate leadership development just as one would practice for a sporting event. She recommends creating a 7-minute daily practice to engage your mind for leadership development.

To learn more about Marilyn and her Olympian Thinking, click here.

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