My sister shared this classic Nike ad with me the other day, it’s a photo of a runner following the powerlines on a backcountry road, just running on his own, with the headline “There Is No Finish Line” below. It’s sat with me for a few days as I attempt to answer a peripheral question posed to me in another assignment – what are the different types of leadership, and what is your preferred style?
Rather than looking into the wake of the last decade for subtle anecdotes that offer a prescription to who we think we are, habits amongst habitat, tangled up in a history of forgetting what we know – let’s let our hands go, look forward and focus on our opponent, catch our own reflection in passing windows..
I see myself in that runner, not because I ran a personal best the other day (heyo!), but because of my desire to go it alone – answer to no one and just get where you need to go – maintain control.
I’ve always loved this Jimmy Iovine quote;
“When you’re a race horse, the reason they put blinders on these things is because if you look at the horse on the left or the right, you’re going to miss a step. That’s why the horses have blinders on. And that’s what people should have. When you’re running after something, you should not look left or right — what does this person think, what does that person think? No. Go.”
..it embodies everything about embracing the entrepreneurial spirit, a map to manifest ones destiny and succeed or fail by the decisions you make – it’s empowering, but it’s incredibly isolating..
I learned something crucial in achieving that personal best the other day – had I gone it alone, I would have fallen short – for sure. I’m the first to put my headphones on and chase the sidewalk, but I recently started running with a group and I’m feeling those horse-blinders shaking loose. Pulling out those left & right earbuds and finding flow: an euphoric state we all chase, a rhythm in the race – achieved by trusting in the runner next to you to keep pace.
It’s where we begin to find community that leads us to this place, it’s an answer I’ve been looking for in how to lean into the bigger issues we face – how do we lift so many out of poverty, how do we end racial inequality, and how do we curb our consumption to deal with corporations and create real change within our countries to deal with climate change - there is no going it alone in any of these scenarios..
There is incredible leadership already in place, there has been for decades, albeit not at the highest level of government – but in the grassroots, in the big-greens – driving real change, and it’s been humbling to conceive that this isn’t my space - to create another NGO, fraction the fundraising, and competing within the community.
To trust that stewardship and offer my skill set with unbridled ambition, to not carry the balance of where credit is due, by simply investing in the right thing to do – to lead without lending, is an example one may be able to reset for all.