Growing up as a kid, I was not naturally athletic and my parents did not model nor encourage my sister and me to be involved in sports. As a result, I’ve had a love-hate relationship with exercise my entire life:
- In elementary school, gym class was tough for me, often getting picked on by the phys ed teacher and being the last kid to be picked for a team
- I was never strong enough to complete the annual fitness tests – doing a pull up, climbing the rope, and doing pushups were cruel and unusual punishment for me.
- I did enjoy playing soccer for a period of time in elementary school (though that probably had more to do with my crush at the time on the student teacher)
- I joined the track and field team as I found I was relatively good at sprinting and hurdling, but hated long distance
- My track and field career was short lived as I ended up with knee injuries after a couple of years due to practicing on cement and not having supportive running shoes
- I was great at and loved ping pong (still do to this day) and became the 2nd best in my province for my age group
- In high school, there continued to be no love lost between me and my gym teachers
- I joined the volleyball and basketball teams by acting as the manager for my friends’ teams (I couldn’t play either of those sports to save my life)
- I took tennis, swimming and ice skating lessons for many years as a kid but only have a beginner’s ability in the first two and zero ability in the last one to this day
- I loved playing badminton with my mom in our backyard every summer
- Solo sports like cycling, kayaking and hiking have always been much more speed
- Gym memberships have mostly gone to waste as I’d much rather work out in the comfort of my own home
As an adult, I know the difference it can make when I am regularly working out. I sleep better, have more energy, maintain a good weight, handle stress better and just generally feel better. Nowadays, my workouts focus on specific goals – increasing my stamina/endurance, strength training, and improving my flexibility.
We all know that being more physically fit is complementary to and necessary for being more effective as a leader. After all, our physical and mental states can affect our longevity in that role. We also know that burnout is a serious condition and can be avoided with a better sense of balance in our lives.
In addition, understanding that our leadership skills are like athletic skills and treating them as such can greatly help our careers is important as well. Some leadership skills may come more naturally to us, while others don’t. And like athletic skills, we need to focus on ways to enhance or develop them. To find out where your leadership skills lie, I invite you to take the Athletic Leadership Quiz.
So what was your score? What areas do you need to focus on?
Working on these skills will require some effort, like going to the gym. And like any true athlete, there will be times when it will take concentration, practice, training with peers, working with experienced coaches, feedback, and of course the necessary motivation to ultimately increase your power as a leader. Take the time to routinely invest in your leadership skills and I guarantee you’ll see results not only at work but in many areas of your life!
Contact me if you’d like to discuss your results and how you can work on these skills.