I took up running 5 years ago. I had given running a few “passing thoughts” in 2011, when I signed up for a 5K with a mom’s group, but didn’t make running a habit until 2016. I only ran up to the 5K distance for the first 4-5 months. Then, I added miles in order to complete my first 10K in November of that year. I kept adding miles to my training regimen, and completed my first 25K the following May and first half marathon the following June. Because of the lack of race offerings during the pandemic, I have kept in “10K shape” these many months, still running 4-8 miles on each thrice-weekly run. Running gives me the chance to escape, clear my head, and start the day off right. 

When you run in a race (often the 10K distance or longer for me), your mindset is often about “making it to the finish line”. When you are striving to be a better runner and “up your game,” you add on miles and do cross training to avoid injury and become fit and more able to handle longer distances. For some, this means achieving what may have 1-2 years ago been unthinkable, like running 13.1, 26.2 or even 50 miles! When the runner keeps seeking to add on mileage, the finish line is arbitrary. 

Just like a sport or hobby one is striving to improve at, we can look at leadership the same way. By joining the Mastermind, participating in ongoing self-selected PD, reading books on leadership (for the industry, not just for educators), listening to podcasts, and engaging in dialogue with other leaders, we can constantly improve our craft. 

When it comes to goal setting you might ask yourself, “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” or “What would you want your obituary to say about you?” However, for other leaders, defining a 5 year or career goal doesn’t fit well with their aspirations because the road to success isn’t always straight and narrow and it can take many twists and turns.

The finish line keeps moving for leaders who are continuously growing and looking for ways to go from good to great. In fact, Jim Collins had this to say about the moving finish line in his book Good to Great

“[G]ood-to-great leaders understand . . . if you begin with the ‘who’ rather than the ‘what,’ you can more easily adapt to a changing world.” 

Collin’s book talks much about having the right people on the bus, because if you have the right “who,” the ”what” doesn’t matter.  So, in this sense, much of this is about finding the right people to work around and who can support you.

You may have spent some time this past year redefining your success, or your road to success. Your goals may have shifted from what they initially were 1 or 2 years ago. In building your leadership capacity, perseverance and redefining the game of what it looks like to win are great points to start with in your own self reflection. 

Re-visit your personal and professional goals at least quarterly. A great place to start is with Michael Hyatt’s, Your Best Year Ever, which is both a goal-setting book that can be read and a course that can be completed. 

Don’t be dismayed if the path you have taken doesn’t look the same as many others in the field. We’ve all heard the saying attributed to Einstein, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting the same results”, so if your goals for your leadership capacity may need to be adjusted, it may be time to look at that.

About the Author

Dana Goodier is a veteran teacher and middle school administrator with over 18 years of experience. She also is the host of the education podcast, Out of the Trenches. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram

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