Five reasons why runners make good leaders, running a race and running a business have more in common than you might think

Running a race and running a business have a lot in common. They both require planning, commitment, troubleshooting and persistence in order to achieve success. For this reason, runners already have a lot of the skills required to be effective leaders. Not convinced? Check out these five reasons why your experience as a runner can help you in leadership roles.

1.- You know how to set goals… and believe in them

Runners understand how to set appropriate goals based on where they’re at now, the circumstances they’re currently dealing with and the timeline they have to achieve their goal. This is a great skill to have as a leader because, similarly to running goals, setting targets that are either too easy or too unrealistic can set your organization up for failure.

You also understand the importance of believing in the goals you set for yourself. Most people are willing to work hard, but if they don’t believe they’ll ultimately achieve success, they’re more likely to give up rather than try and fail. As a runner, you’ve learned how to visualize your success and believe in your training, and you can use these skills to inspire and encourage others in your organization.

2.- You know how to create sustainable change

When you first started running, you didn’t start by tackling a marathon, did you? You likely began by going for a short, easy run and gradually worked your way up from there. Running requires you to adopt new habits and apply them consistently if you want to be successful, and to make changes gradually in order for them to be sustainable. Success in business is the same, and practicing these skills in your running training will help you become a better leader.

3.- You understand the importance of celebrating the small wins

Achieving success in business doesn’t happen in only a few days, weeks or even months. In most cases, large-scale success requires years of work and patience, which is not that dissimilar to running. You may set a goal for yourself like completing your first marathon or running a sub-60 minute 10K, but you know how to celebrate the smaller wins along the way, like running your first half-marathon or setting a new personal best in the 10K, even if it’s not quite your goal time.

Early victories and small wins build confidence and motivate you (and others in your organization) to keep working toward the over-arching goal. In the same way that you would celebrate that new PB en route to your sub-60 10K, you’ll make sure you celebrate every step in the right direction with your organization, too.

4.- You understand the fears and concerns of your team

You know what it’s like to stare a big, daunting goal in the face. Just like you weren’t sure if you could run your first 5K, 10K or marathon, others in your organization may be feeling similarly uncertain about the ambitious goals you’ve set as a team. Having addressed those same types of fears in your running life, you’ll be better equipped to help others in your organization work through them to achieve success.

5.- You know what it takes to succeed

Success in a race, regardless of the distance, is the result of several small improvements over time. Week after week, month after month, you lace up your shoes to get a little bit faster and run a little bit farther, one run and one race at a time. Success in business is the same: you build off of each small win, gradually working your way to the ultimate goal. Once you’ve achieved that goal, you create a new one and continue inching your way toward it.

By practicing this persistence and patience in your running life, you’ll be better at applying these skills in your role as a leader, and you’ll be able to pace your team in a measured and effective way to achieve overall success.

posted Wednesday December 1st
by Brittany Hambleton