How To Keep Running Towards Better Results: For Leaders & Employees
Although his feat is not recognised as a world record, Eliud Kipchoge has inspired millions around the world by running a marathon in less than 2 hours (achieving a time of 1:59:40) in Vienna, Austria – making him the first person to do so. Lessons from his inspirational achievement can carry across into the sales industry. How? Because he is also a person on a mission; he is also result-oriented! Let’s take a look –
For years, Eliud Kipchoge’s (along with the rest of the running world) goal was to complete a marathon in under 2 hours. His attempts in Italy (2017) and Berlin (2018) fell short by 25 seconds and 1:39 minutes respectively. Nevertheless, he holds the record for fastest marathon run at 2:01:39 for the latter. But – that was not enough for Kipchoge. He was a man on a mission and he wanted to see it through. Fast forward to October 12, 2019, and he has gotten the results he worked so hard for – he realised his goal.
Goal setting is praised for its success in increasing an individual’s efficiency. Lately, goal setting has come hand in hand with visualisation. The idea is that if you visualise your final goal, you will be able to slowly – but surely – achieve that goal. This is because you will be able to have a clearer idea of how to break down the process into smaller, more easily attainable goals. These smaller goals can be achieved in a shorter period but it might delay your progress towards your goal. However, they are simply necessary steps that will contribute towards your end game.
For example, to close an RM1 million deal you will first need to establish contact with the prospect. Once done, you will need to build rapport and a relationship with them in order to establish trust. Then comes the sales pitch where you work on selling your service or product. When the clients are happy with your pitch and agree to engage you, you will need to deliver what was promised upon. After delivering on your pitch as promised, you have reached your goal of closing an RM1 million deal.
What is even better about this? By having smaller goals that you can achieve on a daily or weekly basis, you are more likely to remain highly motivated. Kipchoge had a world record to break, what is your record to beat? It could be to top the sales team in terms of closure rates or to be the leader of the highest performing team in the company. Visualise, break down, and work towards attaining your goal.
Kipchoge is known for his constant focus on improvement. His regular training programme consists of running three to four times a week along with two and a half hours clocked in at the gym on other days. Leading up to the Vienna marathon, he ran a fartlek every Tuesday, did long runs on Thursdays and hard sessions of interval training on Saturdays. In order for him to figure out how to remain resilient in the tough times that he faced on the daily, he built his mental strength by reading self-help books. It to takes a lot of willpower to continue running for hours on end and Kipchoge managed to push the pain to the back of his mind in order to focus on his target.
It’s a no brainer that practice and hard work is the only way to get your skills to where you need them to be. But what is it that sets high performers apart from the rest of the team? Self-control.
Self-control is a mind-set pre-set that is present in every decision and action made – whether on a conscious or subconscious level. When you have self-control, you will be in control of your emotions (not as affected by rejection and/or objections), you will be able to get your tasks done (no distraction or daydreaming as you focus more) and you will be more resilient when it comes to facing hardships. As a leader, self-control will make you a better communicator (less inclined to publicly shaming your employees) and a better example (if you work hard, your employees will think – “If he can do it, I can do it”.) The best part is that it is possible to train and learn how to utilise self-control.
As Eliud Kipchoge reached the end of the marathon, he smiled. While many understand this as happiness for making it to the end, Kipchoge actually smiles as a method to trick his body into being able to feel and focus on his legs. After running many marathons, he is able to identify when his body is growing numb from over-exertion. It is common knowledge that smiling increases your endorphins and reduces your perception of pain.
Similarly, if you are having a bad day or feel burned out from spending your morning prospecting or dealing with unmotivated employees, focus on the good parts of your day, the day before or on something that you are looking forward to in the days to come – and smile. You will feel a well-deserved boost in your motivation and morale! A motivated colleague and/or leader will have a positive effect on the team’s performance as a whole.
One of the reasons Eliud Kipchoge’s accomplishment is not recognised as a world record is the fact that he had 41 pacemakers (runners who are paid to keep the marathon participant at a speed that he/she can manage) with him throughout the race. Crowds of supporters lined the track to bear witness to the event. His wife, three children and coach of 2 years were also present to watch him make history. Even the president had called him to pass on words of encouragement before the race. His shoes were sponsored by Nike and was the latest model of a range that was worn during five of the fastest run marathons in history.
All the information above is to highlight the fact that Kipchoge had a support network that pushed him to the finish line. Sure, he was the one doing the actual running and he was the one who endured the pain but it was the people who rooted for him that gave him the mental and emotional push to keep going.
It’s now time to reflect – as an colleague, are you supporting your co-workers in their daily endeavours? As a leader, are you leading your team towards the optimal output and performance? When you work in a team or when you are the leader and are responsible for your team, it is important to allow your team to grow in a supportive environment. Do you think you are doing your best for yourself and your team?
What Kipchoge had was the drive to achieve his goals and complete his mission. In our upcoming public programme, “How to Lead In Tough Times”, we will reveal trade secrets proven to pull hard work, initiative and performance from your team – just push, push, pushing doesn’t work (and you know it!). Change starts from within – be the leader and coach that constantly supports and guides your team to the finish line.