Thursday, June 30, 2005

Leadership


I lead the lane today for most of swim practice. I started off leading (you know, "BE GONE, complacency," "carpe diem," no more "good enough"...), four of us in the lane, and part way into the first set, I said to the woman behind me, "Do you want to lead?" I heard myself say it. And then I regretted it and cursed the fact that it came out of my mouth. I wasn't being overtaken, I wasn't slowing down the lane, in fact, I was setting a pretty good pace and making it challenging for myself and my lanemates. So why the dish off?

I'll tell you why...at that moment, I realized that it's become a habit for me to take the easy way out, to do only 80% of the work...after all, how many people are home in bed sleeping while I'm swimming back and forth a hundred or so times? Isn't it enough that I'm here at all? WHa?? Yes, that might've been enough a few years ago...when any work at all produced gains and speed. But now it's NOT enough...I've said it before, and I'll say it again: nothing good comes from only 80% effort. 100% is my aim. And as soon as I could, I grabbed back the lead of the lane and finished a pretty damn challenging practice. It felt good to break the habit.

Leadership has come pretty easily to me in life. In fact, it came so easily early on that I got burned out on it...I didn't want to be the one to make the decisions any more, to be the one who carried the responsibility on my shoulders...I used to revel in being the one that folks looked to. But then I realized that it's a lot of WORK (notice a pattern here?) and there's no time to slack off because you're the role model, the one people are counting on. So I think I went the other way and tried to shrug off all leadership responsibilities - and now, as evidenced by this morning's dish off, it's become habit.

There must be a middle ground between Slackersville and InCharge Town. Mia's managed it...she's a leader by design, an icon, a role model...but she's never been the US Team's captain or spokeswoman. She does it all by example. She shoulders a lot of the responsibilty for the team and the success of US Women's Soccer but she takes herself out of the limelight and quietly goes about breaking every record there is to break, working harder than just about anyone out there, and inspiring her team (and SO MANY of the rest of us) to be better, to do the work, to excel. Perhaps this is the middle ground I need to shoot for....focus on myself, work hard and lead by example. And I only really need to answer to myself anyway, right?

Mia would ask, "Is it in you?"

Yep. Yep, it is.

2 Comments:

Blogger Flatman said...

Never give that lead spot up unless they take it from you...!

Great post!

11:49 AM GMT-5

 
Blogger Wil said...

AH! This rocks!

Slackersville and InChargeTown... LOL!

8:03 PM GMT-5

 

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