What Does Crossfit, Your Leadership & the State of the Union Have In Common?

It’s the start of a new year. What resolutions have you made to advance your leadership?

I’m reminded of a pre-New Year’s Resolution I made a year ago to get stronger. To accomplish this, I made a big change in my fitness routine and switched from being a fairly consistent runner to taking on a completely new challenge: Crossfit.

I made the switch because I was tired of the chronic muscle tightness that I’d begun to experience almost every time I ran.

One day at the gym I saw a familiar face. She was someone who had attended one of my recent trainings and just happened to work for a local workforce development nonprofit café in my town and she laughed and said,“Of course you do Crossfit. It makes total sense. Crossfit and Advocacy go together.”

I didn’t think much about her comment until a few months later when I told someone what I do and they said, “Oh, it’s kind of like you are trying to get nonprofits to take their medicine” – Ouch. I resisted that metaphor until I thought about it a little more.

Whether it’s amplifying your personal leadership or your organization’s, the truth is that our biggest hurdle to overcome in changing any behavior is the initial discomfort or aversion we may experience to learning a new skill like advocacy.

In The Art of War, Steven Pressfield identifies one of the activities that commonly elicits resistance as:

“Any act that requires taking a principled stand and that rejects immediate gratification in the service of long-term growth health or integrity, in other words, any act that calls upon our higher nature.”

Yep. That pretty much describes the learning curve for leadership and advocacy. One of the biggest challenges for some leaders (and funders) to investing in advocacy leadership is that the gains or wins are often longer term in nature.

And then there’s the ongoing commitment required to overcome the inevitable mindset blocks or false beliefs we have that can hold us back.

It’s been a year since I made the switch from Crossfit to running – and I’m happy to report that my hip pain is gone. But I have to confess it hasn’t always been easy. And that’s the point. Anything that pushes us to reach our full potential is never easy.

It’s only been in the last month or so that I’ve stopped thinking about quitting. I have grown to actually look forward to Crossfit and set some goals for the first time this month because I finally feel confident. I feel physically stronger.

It’s also been surprising to me the tremendous psychic boost I’ve received from pushing myself past my comfort zone and disproving my false belief that I couldn’t be successful because I’m not coordinated or strong enough.

And while I occasionally suffer the odd muscle strain or injury, any pain usually goes away after a day or two. I remind myself its part of my learning curve of pushing myself past my comfort zone to try new things that are ultimately making me stronger. In other words, the old mantra “no pain, no gain” has some truth to it.

What about you? What false beliefs are holding you back from stepping into the fullness of your leadership?

If you’re anything like some of my clients it might look like:

• Avoiding the discomfort of having difficult or contentious conversations with your board or other stakeholders to educate them on the difference between policy and politics.
• Avoiding the risk and possible discomfort of the spotlight instead of weighing in publicly on an issue.
• Wishing you felt more supported in your organization to challenge the status quo and to be more visible including by being more engaged in the public arena.

What if 2018 was the start of a new commitment? To advocate for yourself and your organization, to amplify your impact and step into the fullness of your leadership. In what ways do you want to become stronger this year?

By coincidence, a few nights ago was the annual delivery of the State of the Union by the President of the United States. Were you watching? Did any light bulbs go off as you connected the dots between your mission and decisions our leaders are making in the area of health care, immigration, education, or national security? 

Interested in learning more about how to position your organization as a relevant leader in your community?

One of the greatest mistakes we can make is to confuse policy with politics and avoid our public leadership responsibilities altogether. Decisions are being made in the public arena every day that impact your organizations. Where is your voice?

Why don’t you hop on a call with me and let’s explore what might be possible for you or your organization with some support in 2018 to help Amplify Your Impact.

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