“Your actions speak so loudly, I can’t hear what you are saying” –Tim Marks
Leaders Lead by Example
Michelle and I have 3 children – ages 9 through 13. Each child has a different temperament which amazes me – same house, same message, yet different results with each child.
Earlier this spring my oldest son Adam started to prepare for his inaugural track season with the local track club. The two of us sat down to develop a goal and game plan on what days each week he would workout and what it was he wanted to accomplish. I decided I was going to join him! After all, I’m 16 in a 42-year-old body, and want to work on the 1-pack I have going on in the mid-section, if you know what I mean. Just the fact that I sat down to develop a goal and game plan is a testimony to the leadership journey we’ve been on the last handful of years.
KEY PONT 1: Adam developed a goal and then set a game plan to achieve a desired result.
A Humbling Experience
Each practice consisted of a warm-up then workout and cool-down or core workout. No one else in the family wanted to join us and they all chose to watch Dad die alone on the side of the road. The first practice was not very motivating for me as I realized that Adam has surpassed me in speed and fitness. In fact, after the last interval around the neighborhood, Adam probably finished 150 meters ahead of me. I was hunched over with hands on knees and gasping for air. My neighbor was watching the whole event take place and yells from the driveway, “Matt, that was horrible! Adam killed you. That was just horrible!” Thanks for the vote of confidence 🙂
She was right on, I was pathetic. As the next two weeks progressed, I became more fatigued, sore and humbled. Adam seemed to glide almost effortlessly through the workouts. My 11-year-old Alex saw how much fun it was beating me that he decided to give it whirl.
KEY POINT 2: Alex joined the group after he saw his older brother lead by example.
KEY POINT 3: Never quit and give your best effort.
That day Adam was going to do 5 intervals, and old man pappy was going to do 4 (kind of like a handicap in golf). After the fourth interval, I was spent, my legs burned and I was thankful my part of the workout was done – so I thought. To my surprise, Adam was throwing in the towel too. He had enough and was going to quit early.
That was not acceptable to me. One of our family rules is you ALWAYS give your best effort and never quit because it hurts too much (A lesson I learned through our LIFE leadership training and from my mentors Dan Hawkins, George Guzzardo and Orrin Woodward). Adam was having nothing of it.
Plan B: I decided to try building a vision for Adam and how his efforts will produce fruits in the future (for a great example of this read chapter 4 of RESOLVED- 13 Resolutions for Life by Orrin Woodward).
I started to describe to Adam that someday he will be lining up for the last event of the state track meet – the mile relay. His team will be in the running for the state title, but they will have to win the race and he will have to put in the best race of his life. I described that he’ll think back to times like today and he will be thankful for working through the fatigue and pain.
Adam bought nothing of it! He started to dig in his heels, raise his voice and shout “I’m not doing it!”
Plan C: I started to think about punishment and negative consequences. Thankfully through all the reading, listening and mentoring over the years I decided to abort that plan quickly knowing it would send everyone into a tail spin.
Leaders Lead by Example
I walked away not saying anything except, “I’m going to do that last interval. I’ll see you when I’m done.” I told myself “Don’t look back, don’t make him feel bad, don’t say anything, just lead quietly by example and see what happens.” I started the last interval by myself, still not looking back, and could feel the ache from the lactic acid that had built up in my legs. I was just going to run this one at a comfortable pace – and all of a sudden, I heard footsteps behind me. Adam flew by me like the wind and completed his last interval leaving me in his dust. He was so mad at me for doing that, but at the same time you could see in his face that he has happy he did it!!
KEY POINT 4: Don’t expect anyone to do the things you want them to do unless you are willing to do them yourself.
Take the Mental Fitness Challenge
It’s a little life example, but I think the principles are enormous.
- Develop a goal and game plan to achieve a desired result.
- Leaders always lead by example.
- Never quit when the going gets tough.
- Don’t expect anyone to do the things you want them to do unless you are willing to do them yourself.
My prayer is that this story, and Orrin’s article, may help you have a better day today or tomorrow. We just launched the Mental Fitness Challenge (MFC) and
the principles in this article are found in that 90 day challenge. Log in to the MFC website, sign up for the challenge and get ready to Live the Life You’ve Always Wanted! Godspeed