Do you know what Motivates you to Run?
The word motivation is often associated with running: motivation to run faster, farther or just get off the couch. Do you know what motivates you to do these things? One of the reasons I like running is that I can compare how I am doing versus other runners. Getting passed? I speed up. If you can relate, you may also be someone strong in the Gallup StrengthsFinder strength of Competition.
Competition is rooted in comparison. When you look at the world, you are instinctively aware of other people’s performance. Their performance is the ultimate yardstick. No matter how hard you tried, no matter how worthy your intentions, if you reached your goal but did not outperform your peers, the achievement feels hollow. Like all competitors, you need other people. You need to compare. If you can compare, you can compete, and if you can compete, you can win.
This definition has helped me understand how I think and what motivates me. It is what pushes me towards excellence in everything from my career, my family and my running. Running provides instant feedback.
Pushed to go Faster
A few years ago, I did one of my usual running routes around the campus of Bethel University. About a half mile in, I notice a pack of female runners quickly catching up with me. Something in my brain (Competition) kicked in and I started running faster. The ladies kept getting closer to the point where I could hear their footfalls. A voice in my brain said, “I don’t care what I have to do, they will not pass me.”
I dug deep, speed up and realized that if I just make it another half mile, I’ll have a water stop to stop at, and casually let them pass. Any farther and I’ll burn out. At the same time, I realize these are probably collegiate runners in better shape than I will ever be. This fuels me!
I push and push barely making it to the water stop as they blow by me. As they pass, I notice a face – Marie Borner, three time All-American 1500 meter NCAA DIII national champion.
What did I learn from this?
- The person running behind you may be an All-American.
- If you are motivated by competition, you may run your fastest time ever if being pushed by someone better than you.
- Marie Borner is really fast… and so was I… for half of a mile.
Competition fuels me to perform. If you say I cannot, I say, why not? Now that I understand this strength I can leverage it to help me stay motivated. I understand that I do best when I’m in a context with a measurable outcomes. This is important information for me to know when looking at any opportunity.
Question: Do you know what contexts help you perform at your best?
Do you know what makes you tick? Do you understand how you are wired? If you have trouble answering these questions, you may have trouble finding a great spot to perform at a high level in life.