I somehow got mixed up with a bad crowd- a very bad crowd- a trail running crowd. These people are crazy. They see a hill and they want to run up it. They like running half-marathons and marathons. They run at a moderate pace, sauntering along and stopping to regroup every so often, but they just keep on going up and up and they seem to be able to run forever. They think a 6-mile run is short, and they say things like “only 6 miles”. They hate running on flats because “flats are boring”. What can I say, they’re crazy.
I got mixed up with them about a month ago by mistake. Now I just follow them wherever they take me. Before meeting them my longest run was 6 miles on flats during small time windows in my life of peak fitness. Last weekend they tricked me into running 8.5 miles, which was easily my longest run ever. Yesterday they tricked me into running 13.5 miles to 2000 feet elevation. Yes, we stopped to regroup every so often. Yes, I was practically crawling at the end. But it was longer and higher than I ever planned to run during my entire lifetime.
Afterwards I was sore… very sore… and I told my friend how far we ran and how sore I was. He said, “You didn’t know that you were going to do that beforehand?” I said “No!” In fact, I didn’t know how far or how high until we got to the top, actually, I didn’t know until we got to the bottom and finished and they started clicking away on their little GPS gadgets. But my friend’s question made me think… Often times if you are going to do a big ambitious challenging thing, you would know about it in advance and get yourself prepared and psyched up. You would train for it (perhaps for months), you would eat right beforehand, you would probably spend a good number of brain cycles fretting, and you might lie awake in bed a little nervous the night before. Well, since I didn’t know what we were going to do, I didn’t have to go through any of that. From my perspective, I was going out for a little jog on a trail, and it accidentally lasted longer and went higher. I didn’t have to plan and worry about it beforehand. I just had to do it.
Okay, why am I writing about this in my work blog? Well, it’s because it didn’t actually happen purely by accident. I’ll exagerrate a little bit, but basically, the team has a few schemers who tricked me into it. I think I was duped.
Barb turned back early because she only planned to do a “short run” (think “only six miles”) since she was recovering from the first part of laser eye surgery and couldn’t see depth. After we were just a couple miles into the run, Barb’s parting words to me were “This hill goes up just a little more and then it’s all rolling hills… You’re gonna do great at this trail!” and then she turned off. So, I happily jogged along thinking it was “just a little more” uphill and the peak was just around the next corner. In reality, that “goes up just a little more” was about 4.5 more miles and 1500 more feet. She tricked me.
Dennis is another tricky one. He uses that “a little more” phrase quite a lot as well. When we’re at the juncture where we’re about to do a really steep and hairy section, he just smiles kindly giving no hint that something really bad is about to happen. When I first met the group, he sent me an extra email with directions to let me know where they will meet, and during runs he gives all sorts of compliments and encouragement. During a run he changes his pace to help out and encourage anyone who is having a hard time. As you can see, Dennis is another one of those people full of tricks and deceit.
Tim, Scott, Mary, Gerald, Cathy, Ruth… They’re all guilty. And, they each do their trickery in different ways about different things… For example, one will tell a joke or talk about good food during a hairy part of the climb, again, just trying to trick you into lasting longer. As you can see, it’s just a bad crowd.
Or, I guess I could take another perspective. The group is full of mentors, coaches, and great team players. In fact, they’re almost a perfect team. What makes this group into such a great team?
- They strive for ambitious goals together.
- They encourage, motivate, and support each other.
- They push ahead and then wait for each other.
- They welcome and develop new people.
- They develop each other.
- They help each other through the challenging times and are sensitive to each others’ needs.
- They figure out and say what each other needs to hear during times of challenge to get to that next level, whether it’s the truth or a little white lie.
- They mentor each other without wanting any acknowledgement or credit.
- They turn their individual strengths into their group strength.
- They like each other, have fun together, and celebrate each others’ accomplishments.
Again, they don’t seek credit or acknowledgement when helping each other out. But, since I figured out their trickery and deceit, I’m calling them on it here!
As you can guess, I’m writing this here because I think this applies to work and your career. It doesn’t matter what job, experience, or skill level you or the person you are talking to have. You can always give a little encouragement and coaching. Don’t worry about being noticed in the short run… you absolutely will be noticed and appreciated in the long run!
Have you motivated someone today?
Have you encouraged someone today?
Have you mentored someone today?
Have you helped someone with their development today?
Have you helped someone be better than they ever thought they could or would?
Have you ever been tricked, deceived, motivated, and encouraged into doing something you didn’t think you could?
I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences.
Please feel free to leave a URL in your comments.