I’m not much of a gym freak. I know I have the physique of Chris Hemsworth (ha, err, maybe not) but don’t let that deceive you; I really am not that fit at all. No seriously, I’m very unfit. It’s an issue I’ve been trying to rectify recently. Here are a few gym principles that I believe can apply to leadership as well:
1. In order to get the best results, you need to work hard.
This is perhaps the most obvious observation of the three, but as is usually the case, one of the easiest to ignore. If you don’t push yourself, you will achieve less. Simple. It’s your responsibility to do your best because the chances are that you probably know your best better than anyone else does and there won’t always be someone over your shoulder watching every move you make. As a leader, setting the pace for a good work ethic encourages the people that follow you to work with the same intensity. Having said that, if you don’t know when to take a break from your time at the gym, you will eventually begin to cause yourself damage. Knowing when to rest and recover is vital too.
2. There is no quick-fix way to get fit – it takes time.
One of my biggest frustrations with the gym is that after one session I’m not the fittest person there. As impatient as I am, unfortunately I’m beginning to understand that there is no way I’m going to get to a level of fitness that I’m happy with straight away. It’s going to take time. I won’t see the me I want to be until I’ve put in the work to get there. If we want to build our leadership abilities, we have to work at them. That’s why, as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, Bill Hybels is a fantastic leader and I’m…well, just starting out. In terms of leadership, he is much fitter than I am – simply because he’s been training a lot longer. Whilst I believe that you can be born with a natural ability, I just don’t subscribe to the idea that you can’t ‘get fitter’ in your leadership ability. Do you disagree? If so, I’d love to know why!
3. Other people will be fitter than you in certain areas, and that’s ok.
When I was at school, I was a pretty fast sprinter. That was my thing. Long distance? Not so much. I used to massively resent the fact that during long distance runs, the kids I’d beat hands-down in the 100m sprints would obliterate me, leaving me a gasping, spluttering wreck in the process. There came a point where as much as I hated it, I had to accept that these people would always be fitter than me when it comes to long distance. I had pace on my side, but they had fitness on theirs and I was neither able nor willing to close the gap. In the gym, I see some huge guys lifting weights that would probably crush me. Realistically, I won’t ever be at the point where I could lift the kind of weights they do – even if I wanted to. I see people running on the treadmills at what feels like a billion miles an hour in comparison to me and for much, much longer than I can possibly manage. I probably won’t get to that point either. It’s inevitable that in leadership, there will be people who are far more gifted in certain areas than you, but don’t see that as a problem. It’s ok for that to be the case. Instead, use it to maximise your strength as a team by utilising their individual abilities. You don’t have to be the strongest in every field you lead, which is good because leadership would be almost impossible if that was the case!
There you have it. Observations from the gym!