I got my butt kicked today in a workout session. And, that took me by surprise. Working out has been a consistent part of my life for as long as I can remember.
My yoga practice lasted 10 years 3 days per week without fail. More recently I started strength training and was going to the gym 3 days per week to lift.
The Wakeup Call
I thought I was working hard. Fact is, I even had a “fit” attitude. In my mind, I felt like I was pushing myself and giving it all I had. I worked with a trainer on a very limited basis. She would come in and look at my form and I’d be on my own to continue. My own Type-A personality assured me that I was fine on my own.
Discipline isn’t a problem. I showed up. I went through the routine.
Then, a new fitness center opened up in my community. My favorite trainer is an instructor there and she invited me to give it a try.
Within 10 minutes of this 40 minute workout, the room seemed to be spinning. I was gasping for breath. Every muscle in my body was shaking. There was sweat dripping. (yuck)…This was an eye opener.
At the end of the workout I felt invigorated and embarrassed. It took one 40 minute workout to realize that everything I thought I knew about my own fitness was wrong.
My time at the gym was going through the motions. I was wearing the newest Lulu Lemons and feeling all impressed with myself.
I was ignoring the obvious. Making excuses about why that last 5lbs was so hard to lose “no matter how hard I worked.”
Fact was, I wasn’t working hard. But, I’d convinced myself that I was. There was no one holding me accountable. Nothing pushing me to work harder.
Leaders can be blind to their own fitness
As leaders, we often make the same assumption about our own fitness to lead. We have the title, we show up, and we go through the motions. But, are we leading? There are really 3 key leadership questions to ask yourself that often we overlook.
Here are 3 leadership questions to ask yourself:
1. When is the last time I have used surveys, 360s, or 3rd party interviews to find out how I’m perceived as a leader? It’s no different than me assuming I was in shape. It took accountability and a test to my fitness to show how much work I still have to do. You may FEEL like a great leader, but getting feedback may be eye opening for you.
2. Who holds me accountable? Yes, you may have a BOD or shareholders that hold you accountable for results. But, who holds you accountable for authenticity, communication, and engagement? Who pushes you to set a higher purpose for your goals? Who asks you the hard questions? Tiger Woods has a swing coach. (In fact, he likely has more than one.) It might be time that you step up your game and hire an executive coach to serve as your partner in leadership.
3. If I leave my position tomorrow, who have I groomed to take my place? Leadership means you’re developing people. So our final of the 3 leadership questions to ask yourself is focused not about managing them or directing them, but on developing them. You push them out of their comfort zone and you teach them what you know. You can sleep at night knowing that everything would continue in your absence. Leadership requires you to have the confidence to train your own replacement.
My workout this week showed me that I had to up my game. I need to show up at the gym, WITH the trainer. I need to push harder and set higher goals. If not, my results will remain mediocre.
As leaders, we don’t accept mediocrity. Not at the gym, and not at the office. How will you step up your game? Who will help you push harder and set higher goals? Just like at the gym, if you want the best results you’ve got to do the extra work.
Ask yourself these leadership questions and then make the next step to ensure you have accountability built into your role as a leader.
Cynthia Corsetti is an Executive Coach and Speaker. If you’d like to learn more on how her C.A.R.E. to Engage system can help you create an engaged workforce in your organization, you can email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org