Need a holiday already?

I stopped on the footbridge over the Southern Motorway near the Newmarket Viaduct on my run yesterday, mainly to look at the construction of the new viaduct. It’s a fascinating project and as I gazed over the motorway I found myself mesmerised by the lanes of traffic speeding towards and under me. Feeling slightly dizzy I continued on my way. The run took me past six Auckland Volcanoes – Three Kings, Maungakiekie in One Tree Hill Domain, Te Kopuke (Mt St John), Remuera (Mt Hobson), Pukekawa (Domain) and Maungawhau (Mt Eden). On a more energetic day I have run up the peaks, but this run was about a steady undulating run.

I lot of people I know are feeling fatigued already having been back at work for less than two months. Increasing expectations on us all, limited resources, a recession, a terrible disaster in Christchurch are some of the things that might be contributing to this. I’ve noticed I haven’t been to as many movies as I would like to recently – there doesn’t seem to be time.

Always in a hurry. Busy people filling their resting time with activities (like running!), so not finding the time to be present with ourselves, reflect and recharge

And those we’re leading: are we putting the same expectations on them? Or maybe we’re holding onto stuff that could be delegated because we want it done, well, our way!

At the end of my run I took a diversion to pass my former maternal grandparents home. Having been at a cousins get-together the day before it seemed like the right thing to do. Grandma’s house seemed peaceful and inviting even now. A place where as a little boy I could sleep on the couch overnight. A peaceful oasis so close to the scene of so many volcanic eruptions.

I’m going to the movies this week. I’ll find something reflective, happy or even just funny. A holiday evening in the week.

Stephen

Letting go to grow

It felt hard when I got home. We had celebrated my son Thomas’ 21st at Iguacu in Parnell. A lovely evening which included some healing. I wrote quite a lot in a journal in the 90s and had a collection of memorabilia from home and school that captured the moment. It amazed me how much you forget. So if your kids say something like “When you die and come back as another person do you remember who you were?” then write it down. It’ll be worth it. And it was.

Putting together an album of photographs covering 21 years – and really only snippets which is why I called it “The unauthorised and completely random photo album to Thomas from Dad” – I went though the journals, the photographs and the large container of memorabilia. What it came down to were 30 pages. It took a bit of time, but then it felt thin and not worthy of such a fine young man. But it was a representation of 21 very special years of growing up.

I’ve regarded Thomas as grown up for quite some time but when I got home after the dinner it suddenly hit me: now it’s real, I’ve given him all I can to him as a young person. I consoled myself that I can give him (I hope) plenty man-to-man.

Such an empathetic, energetic and optimistic person is a rare find, and Thomas is one.

I’m still slightly sad, not sure why, but I’ve let go in a way I hadn’t expected to feel on Saturday.

Time to grow. For us both.

Stephen

Oh the joy of running!

On 23 January 2005 I went out one morning and walked three power poles, ran three, walked three and a bit more until I had completed about 2 kilometres. It was a bit off and on the first year, but nearly 9000 kilometres later (well 8916 to be exact!) I do if asked, call myself a runner. I’m not fast, but I’m not too slow when I apply myself and in those six years I’ve completed 12 marathon events and my average run length went from 6km in 2005 to 15km in 2010.

It’s often hard but I’ve kept going with lots of support – especially from Michael Simons who I’ve mentioned before – and the other regulars on Monday and Wednesday: Julie, Maria and Froste. Mum and Dad have almost always been there to face my mid-marathon abuse! And recently my son Tim took the ferry to Waiheke to see me complete the Wharf2Wharf.

I’ve learned a lot about myself through running:  the space to reflect when going solo, pushing myself really hard to see what I am capable of, encouraging others and being encouraged when the going gets tough and of course a bit of healthy competition to make you go that little bit harder.

I’ve discovered a lot about our great city – you see so much when you’re running that you miss in the car or bus. Running knows no boundaries and the legs work just as good or bad in Marine Parade Herne Bay as they do in Massey Road, Mangere.

When I ask myself: what makes me a leader?, running is an important part of it. In fact it’s got many of the components of leadership in one neat package:  self awareness, communication, reflection, role-modelling, mental & physical toughness and resilience, it’s fun, builds teamwork and is eco-friendly.

Looking forward to the next six years.

Stephen

Own yourself

I’ve had a busy time the last few weeks and over the next few weeks I have friends staying, the Authentic Leadership Course, my folks up, then Uncle Stan, more programmes and workshop and whew, the year will be almost done.

It could be the reflective mood that Dire Straights Telegraph Road is giving me, but I felt a sense of ownership tonight. Ownership of my own spacetime. It might also be something to do with having a productive afternoon at work, some more opportunities and seeing Tim enjoying his 18th birthday.

It’s not selfish to own yourself. In fact I say it’s selfish not to. If you don’t take care and grow yourself through reflection, enjoying your own thoughts and contemplating what has gone and what is to come (is that reflection!?) then you’re not caring for yourself. That’s selfish as you’re not going to be much good for anyone in your world.

According to psychometric testing and my own work I’m an extrovert. I get my energy from the external world. But I get lots from my internal world – the place where it is just me in my own spacetime.

We notice authentic leadership coming from within. It has that quality of depth and meaning that brings out the best in each of us. The authentic leader has ownership of self. When did you last renew it?

Stephen