On Friday I was reminded again of just how slow I am as a runner. While out for my weekly long run, I was passed by a guy who was clipping along at a brisk pace. I had to make a decision. A hard decision, especially considering my personality. Throw down the hammer and try to keep up, or stick to my game plan and finish strong?
When the rabbit passed, I decided not to go faster, but to slow down. The decision to slow down actually kept me running at about the same pace. Equation: The pull to match someone else’s pace + a slow down decision = same speed.
As leaders it is easier to react to the actions of others than it is to stay focused and consistent in our own performance.
There have been so many times I have been passed by a runner only to find him (or her) struggling later in a race. There is nothing more fun than finishing ahead of someone who passed you earlier.
In your role as a leader, the temptation to try to keep up can be almost impossible to resist, especially if you are competitive. I say, “Resist!”
Leadership is a lifelong process. Arrogantly reacting to others can sabotage your legacy.
The next time you see a “flash in the pan” and you feel yourself being drawn into a battle, remember the story of the tortoise and the hare. Consistency over the long haul will win in the end. “Going turtle” may be counterintuitive, but it is the wise thing to do.
Is there a place where you need to slow down this week? If so, stop comparing yourself to others, and just keep moving in the right direction.
Are there places where you are more focused on “keeping up” than you are on your mission?
Randy is an author, speaker, executive coach, and the CEO of InteGREAT Leadership. He invests his time encouraging leaders around the world.