Running has taught me a lot of lessons over the years.

This is the first in an ongoing, periodic series of posts delving into what running has taught me about life and leadership.

So, here goes… What running has taught me about life & leadership.

Lesson # 1…  Optimism is a great choice!


I woke up yesterday, Sunday, at 5:15 AM so rudely declaring to my peacefully slumbering wife, “This is the last freaking thing I want to do right now!”  She inaudibly mumbled a response and rightfully rolled over to drift back to sleep.  I peeled myself from bed in a pathetic effort to prep for my weekly long run.

Fortunately, I quickly caught myself and made a conscious decision to change my ‘tude.

If I would have kicked the dog and maintained my crabby, negative disposition, what were the likely outcomes?

  1. Not running and waking up 90 minutes later even more crabby, or
  2. Reluctantly forcing myself into the cold, dark morning and painfully enduring looonnnggg miles quite possibly ending it all early

Instead, I looked myself eyeball-to-eyeball in the mirror (quite scary) and reminded my soul that it should be damn thankful just to be able to run.  Then, I noticed that the weather was near perfect… 35 degrees, not too windy, and a slowly clearing sky!  Finally, my mind began to shift towards the prospects of quiet “me-time” for the next hundred minutes, and a donut and coffee to follow.  Sounds just lovely!

‘Tude changed.  An enjoyable 13.25 miles followed.  As did that donut.

Come race day, if I toe the start line thinking about misery, how’s it going to go?  Really, how’s it likely to turn out?

I choose to smile and look at the boundless possibilities ahead.  Sometimes this is easy.   Other times, not so much.  The results are always better than they would have been with the contrary outlook.  I’m 100% convinced that running optimistically makes me a better runner.

Approaching the workday, the family vacation, or the big presentation is no different.  You want a better chance at a great result?   Choose the right ‘tude and mindset.

For me, optimism is one-part natural wiring, one-part decision, and one-part resolve.

People often say that I am just a born optimist.  This is only one-third true… it is also a decision and a steady resolve to focus on the positive even when it is difficult or inconvenient to do so.  If I am weak on the latter two, they will override the hard-wiring.  Believe me (and my family), this happens more frequently than I’d like to admit!

Choose to fly above the clouds of life.

A vote for optimism tremendously increases your chances to…

  • Visualize & achieve the unthinkable
  • Be genuinely happy
  • Inspire others

An optimistic attitude is a crazy cool and vital gizmo to possess – in running, in life, and in leadership.  When it comes to getting results, I’ll take optimism over that savvy GPS watch or those amazing new shoes all day, every day.  🙂

The more energy spent on the good in life, the more it occurs.

Not to mention, you’ll have a thankful dog and an appreciative, well-rested better half!

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