April 22th, 2015
In 1962, Alan Sillitoe wrote the book (later a movie), The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner. It is the story of a rebellious young lad who discovers himself in long distance running. It raises the question, What are the qualities essential in making a mentally tough runner?
Dr. JoAnn Dahlkoetter, author of Your Performing Edge, and winner of the San Francisco Marathon and second-place finisher in the World Championship Hawaii Ironman Triathlon, lists seven key traits inherent among runners who succeed:
Resilience: Able to bounce back from adversity, pain or a disappointing performance.
Focus: Able to focus in the face of distractions or unexpected circumstances.
Strength: Mentally tough, strong and flexible, able to respond to any situation that arises.
Preparation: Anticipates situations ahead of time. Feels prepared. Doesn’t panic in a crisis.
Vision: Keeps moving forward with the objective, even when there are no immediate signs of getting closer to the finish line.
Openness: Constantly learning, open to all possibilities, listens to the inner voice saying, “I can do this.”
Trust: Has faith in oneself, trusts in her training, her plan and her coach, even when there is no one close by to boost her confidence, even when the finish line seems far away.
These are traits also required in long-distance Christian entrepreneur, marriage partner, parent or business professional. These are qualities found in every great leader. Resilience. Focus. Strength. Preparation. Vision. Openness. Trust. And there is one more trait besides.
Having come alongside others on their ‘long distance run’ for over fifty years now, the difference maker setting some ‘runners’ apart from the others in attitude and determination is without question their clear faith in the Almighty God. These leaders run TO, not FROM. For them the victor’s crown is the prize waiting at the finish line. It is a “Well done, good and faithful ‘runner’. . .” spoken by winner of the greatest marathon of all time. Jesus Christ.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us” ~ Hebrews 12:1.
~Ward Tanneberg is president emeritus of CASA 50+ Network. He has been youth director, college public relations director, adjunct professor, writer, novelist and pastor in three churches. He a C3 Forum leader. www.wardtanneberg.com.