For my virtual friends and connections, you know one of my favorite things to do is Tweet a picture from a #SunriseRun. I think this is an overlooked pleasure in this busy world, and one of the best times to both reflect on the lessons of yesterday and strategically think about the day that lies ahead.
As the sun peeks over the horizon, we are all sitting in front of a clean slate. The day ahead presents us with a canvas of unlimited potential and no mistakes. Do you think of it this way? Do you take time to ponder the decisions of days gone by and deliberately determine ways to improve? If you do not take the time to reflect on days gone past, decisions made, opportunities both exploited and missed…how can you realistically expect to improve your leadership skills?
For me, it is hard to carve out that time. Between long hours, high stress, 4 children and schedule planning for tomorrow, it is difficult to make time for me. Recently, I had the good fortune to experience a high-level United States Air Force Leadership Development Course. My biggest takeaway came from one of the General Officers who was a mentor to the class. He explained 15% of our time should be leading up, 10% leading across (peers) and 25% leading down…that left 50% to leading within ourselves. This caused me much consternation as I pondered his math and division of time. Half of our time should be reflecting on our decisions gone by, the second and third order effects of those decisions and indecisions and strategic-level thinking about the future of both our organization and ourselves. Now, this may sound selfish, but who most benefits from your refinement of your leadership skills? Arguably you, but also the organization that pays you to be a leader.
For me, the only time to do this is in the morning when I am staring at the clean crisp canvas of a new day. As my wife can tell you, I love sunrise and the beauty it brings this world. I am always thankful and proud to see another day…probably more than most…as I ventured uncomfortably close to death a few years back. Venturing out the door on a run is the best way to focus my thinking. On a run, I can not text, twitter, LinkedIn or email. I can get lost with my thoughts while conditioning my body for the adventure which lies ahead. It is my personal 45 minute get-away wherever I am in the world. It is where I mentally write my next article and determine how my leadership style needs to evolve. It is where I pat myself on the back for successes, and kick myself in the rear for opportunities not fully engaged. It is the time I slow my jog as a reward for good leadership and punish bad decisions with sprints longer than I should.
When do you carve out time for yourself? If you are reading this and can not definitively point to your strategic time then you are making a grave mistake. Find your strategic thinking place, where you are not free to catch up on just one more email, send one more text or read one more Orange-Peach Report. You owe it to yourself, and your organization, to become better.
The one guilty pleasure I have come to look forward to on my run is quickly snapping a picture of the day’s beauty. I then save it for a post-run Tweet as I do not dare open any media while on my solace.
Join me in growing our #SunriseRun community. Next time you see a Tweet from me with a #SunriseRun, you will know what I am doing and what I just focused on for the last 45 minutes.
Take a #SunriseRun and share your picture with our community. Now, it may be at a different time of the day, or not on a run at all. Just Tweet it out with HashTag #SunriseRun and let’s challenge each other to grow our styles, knowledge and effectiveness.
I look forward to seeing each of you on the strategic running trail!
See Tweets from a few previous #SunriseRun:
#SunsetRun to end beautiful weekend on Beale AFB @9thRW @usairforce pic.twitter.com/zdi48jcWtg
— Chris R Stricklin (@ChrisRStricklin) May 4, 2015
Beautiful way to start @usairforce day on Beale AFB with #SunriseRun through the countryside @9thRW pic.twitter.com/84uoDcuLS4
— Chris R Stricklin (@ChrisRStricklin) April 26, 2015
New sign on my #Sunrise run trail… Guess I will run faster! #GatorRun #SunriseRun pic.twitter.com/ra2hd9KfXi
— Chris R Stricklin (@ChrisRStricklin) April 22, 2015
#SunriseRun to start @usairforce day! Last day of this week's amazing #Leadership education at #MaxwellAFB pic.twitter.com/OyfX9G1FwW
— Chris R Stricklin (@ChrisRStricklin) April 24, 2015
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