Walk the Talk and Running the Race
Guest Faculty post by Doug Vause
We all know the meaning of the phrase “Walk the Talk” but “Running the Race”?
I’ve had the opportunity to run in a few marathons over the years. For those who have also run marathons you’ll chuckle at my use of the word opportunity! One that stands out in my mind was an extremely long 26.5 miles in freezing rain and sleet one early spring running in the Ogden Marathon.
I was running the race with a friend of mine who had been a good training partner, little did I know at the start of the race how important that individual would be in my completing the race. Cary was a very capable runner. He could have quite easily, got me started on my way, wished me all the best and then quickly pulled ahead in the attempt to beat his personal best time. For my benefit he chose not to do that, and to my building appreciation throughout the race, chose to stay with me and ensure that I finished the race.
Keeping the Balance -Throughout the race Cary provided the perfect combination of pacesetter, challenger, motivator and coach. Setting the pace just enough to keep me on my best time, not allowing me to slack but also tuned in to my behavior and physical condition enough to know when that pace needed to be stepped up or pulled back because he saw me hitting a wall. As a coach along the way he kept me focused on all the positive aspects of what we were running for, not allowing the realities of the moment, the freezing rain, sleet, loss of feeling in legs, arms, fatigue, freezing cold temps, our bodies, well at least mine, struggling to have enough energy to keep moving forward let alone stay warm.
Keeping the Focus – He helped to control and influence my attention and keep my mind on the most important goal of the day, completing the race. For those who have run a marathon you understand that it is mostly a mental game, Cary understood the importance of that, especially on this day.
Keeping the Cadence – So if you haven’t figured it out yet, my marathon, metaphorically speaking, is an example of our roles as Sales Leaders, mentors and coaches for those whom we are responsible. It’s one thing to Walk the Talk, yet distinctly another to be Running the Race. Understanding, knowing, and talking about the principles and tools of success are one thing, but actively participating, practicing, running alongside, and being in the race with our team is distinctly different. This is what truly separates a mentor and coach from just being an instructor.
Running alongside, being actively engaged with your team allows you to help set the pace, challenge when needed, be understanding of conditions yet keep the focus on what truly matters, motivate, push, encourage and yes coach. Have the tough conversations and reward true accomplishment. Being there to drive, motivate, pick them up when they stumble or keep them focused on what’s important when the going gets hard, and yes, being alongside to celebrate when they cross the finish line.
So, you’re probably wondering, did I finish the Ogden Marathon despite the crappy weather and conditions, yes I did, and to my amazement, after crossing the finish line and thawing out, had set my best time to date. I also realized that I would have never accomplished that, nor finished the race had I not had an awesome friend, coach, running companion and mentor “Running the Race” with me. Over 50% of all participants dropped out somewhere along the course that year, but I (we) finished the race. Don’t just Walk the Talk; truly try “Running the Race!”