Day 62: A Lesson In Leadership

A couple days ago, a nice guy by the name of Watts did an impresive job of distracting me as I was doing my sit-ups on the jungle bars, which is saying something considering my wife was minding my eldest daughter who kept calling out “Daddy, Daddy, Daddy, Daddy!” After I’d finished my set and (safely) dismounted, he started talking about how hard it was to do sit-ups. As I’d gone through a similar situation before of someone wandering up to distract me from finishing my circuit, I just invited him to join in and proceeded to carry on with my superset. To my surprise he followed every exercise I did, as best he could, given his 5’7″ 82kg frame.

Seeing the opportunity to practice the principle of sharing I asked him if he’d be interested in reading my copy of Bill Phillip’s Body For Life book and joining me as a training partner. He accepted the invitation with his heavy Gilbertese accent and we agreed to meet at the foot of the hill next to my street.

Here you can see the run from Redhill Rd through to Settlement Rd before connecting back up via Dominion Rd.

Fast forward to today and I met up with him, gave him the book and said one thing, “Let’s do it like this, whether one of us is slower than the other, the objective is to beat ourselves. If your ahead of me don’t slow down, if your behind me, REALLY don’t slow down.” After that we began the 5km run around Redhill.  Once we were midway up the hill, he fell behind and I continued on. Now I don’t know the average time of running 5km but this hill had previously taken me 32 minutes to run so regardless of how many people wanted to join me, I had a goal to beat 32 minutes at all costs. I was racing myself. A few times, I considered looking back but thought better of it given that I was wasting energy by turning my head instead of focusing on the next ten meters ahead of me, always the next ten meters until I finished at the playground in 24 minutes and 16 seconds.

I rested than proceeded to start the circuit thinking that my training partner wasn’t too far away. After finishing however I began to wander where he’d gotten to. I walked back up to the road and didn’t see anybody coming down the hill. On turning around, I saw him walking towards me but back down the hill from the end we had started at. I went up to him and he ran with a smile over to me (he maybe thought I had gone home already and was making his way back home. The nerve!). He told me that once he’d gotten to the top of the hill, he didn’t know what to do and turned back to come down the way he’d walked up.

Now here’s the lesson:

“There’s nothing wrong with leaving a man to make his own way but it is unacceptable for you, the leader, to fail in giving sufficient directions to facilitate that journey.”

Simple stuff right?! Well, I’d failed in that regard. While being completely focused on beating my own times and racing myself, I’d failed to give this guy the directions he needed to find his own way. I didn’t consider that he might get lost once at the top of the hill as I’d done it a few dozen times since discovering that the road eventually looped back on itself.  As a result, he ended up walking back the way he came. The greatest shame is in the fact that he’d climbed the hardest part of the hill before becoming doubtful and hesitant, eventually backtracking to where he started.

I made a note of this in my journal tonight. First time I’ve written in one in 3 years actually. Won’t be the last though as I’m starting my own Success Library containing books of the highest value imaginable, my journals (and others of course). I’ll keep you guys informed on how they go but I’m excited that I learned this important lesson today.

Once again, it’s great to help others, give them more opportunity, all that good stuff but if you fail to direct them adequately, they will end up becoming lost, discouraged and disillusioned. Now I’m not saying that’s what happened today but hey, you can never be too careful right!? Right!

I think this journal thing is gonna work out just fine!