5 Next Level Leader lessons becoming a runner teaches us

leadership Sep 06, 2021

In a previous blog post I mentioned that I have been slowly progressing from a walker to a runner with my husband over the last 6 months.

Yesterday for the first time I ran 22 minutes without stopping, and because Leadership and helping you get promoted is my passion, I distracted myself with thinking about how running applied to leadership 😂


  • Find a point ahead of you and focus.


I don't know about you, but I find it much easier to push myself to run if I can find a point ahead and focus on that point. Part of it is just keeping my head up although it also feels good to see I'm making progress 😏

The same principle applies when progressing to a leadership role.

The first step is to create a point ahead of you. Where are you wanting to head to? What does it look like?

The next step is to really see that point ahead, then keep your head up and focus on it.

As with running, there isn’t a straight line to that point. When we run around the lake, I am constantly finding new points to focus on as we round bend after bend.

Your journey to leadership isn’t meant to be a straight line either. It’s OK to change your focus point as you progress. You change, your environment changes – looking back at an old focus point with regret that it’s no longer in front of you doesn’t make sense.


  • Look at the ground as well.


It's great having a focus point that is up ahead, however if I never looked at the path I'm running on, it's possible I'm going to trip (I have actually fallen twice - although that was when I was walking. Perhaps there's another lesson in there about moving faster can actually be safer? 😂), or stumble upon a snake 😟

When you're working on moving to the next level in your career, it's important to know where you are going and to spend a good portion of time looking ahead. It's also important to look at where you are right now.

Today, take stock of where you are right now, then ask yourself...

What am I doing that might trip me up?

How can I improve my ‘form’ – my ways of working?

Where am I right now, in relation to where I want to be?


  • Don't focus on the person in front of you.


My husband is a better runner than me (for now 😉) and so is often running ahead of me on the path.

Sometimes when I'm looking up for a point ahead, I will focus on the back of his head... and that just makes me dizzy 😂. It also makes me start getting in my head, and thinking about how much further he is ahead of me 😑

It's the same thing in your quest to become a leader.

This isn't about looking at where someone else is on the journey.

I could get frustrated that he's doing better than me. I could run faster and try and keep up - but I know that would burn me out and I wouldn't make the 22 minutes.

So I focus on running my own race at my own pace.

I focus on doing better for myself each time rather than worry about catching up with my husband.

Forget about what others are doing in their career and how that compares to your progress.

This isn’t about them.

The "competition" is far more with yourself than it is about anyone else.


  • Having a plan makes it doable.


When we decided to start running, we didn’t just go out there and run.

We knew two things:

  • We didn’t know what we were doing and
  • if we didn’t have a plan, chances are we would run once, maybe twice, then decide it was all too hard 😁

So we found support in an app that gave us the plan we could build on one step (pun intended) at a time.

We didn’t put pressure on ourselves with having to strictly stick to the timeline, however we knew what to do and how to do it. It has definitely got us where we are now faster and surer than we would have by ourselves.

Having a plan for getting promoted will help you know what to do, and how to do it, to make sure it happens. It won’t be to a strict timeframe, but it will be faster than if you don’t have one.

This is where the Accelerate Your Leadership Academy shines. It will help you devise a plan that is tailored for you. Doors are opening for the Academy next week for the final time this year.

How have you used plans to help you get to a goal faster?


  • Being accountable helps you do it.


While having a plan in place was the key to us going from not having run in 30 years to actually seeing ourselves as runners, there was one other factor that helped us not only stick to it, but to get there faster than we would have otherwise.

Having someone else to be accountable to.

Because there were two of us doing it together, we were much more likely to encourage each other to go, and less likely to let each other off the hook.

For extra ‘motivation’ letting the amazing women know in the group that I was going to run for 22 minutes – that really helped me to do it!

So while you are focused on your own ‘race’ in getting promoted, that doesn’t mean you need to go it alone. Work with someone else on a similar journey and hold each other accountable.

That’s why the community is so treasured, and why we have monthly hotseat calls in the Accelerate Your Leadership Academy. It holds us accountable to doing the things we really want to do.

Sometimes, despite our best intentions, we don't follow through on taking action. It's easy to convince ourselves there are valid reasons for that - that's our brains way of keeping us safe and staying in our comfort zone.

Adding someone else into the mix helps you get out of your own way!


Are you a quietly determined career woman looking to get to your first, or next level leadership role?

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