As I was out for my daily run yesterday, it occurred to me that we have various reasons to run. Some run for exercise, and to maintain their health however fragile or hearty that may be. Others, like myself, run for all the above reasons as well as a form of meditation; a chance to be alone with my thoughts. I know to those of you who aren’t runners in a physical sense, running to meditate must seem like a very bizarre concept. How can one concentrate on a thought or thoughts while huffing and puffing, and hurting, and cursing for the torture to be over? I get it. Until you come to a point in your aerobic capacity where the run is no longer a chore, but becomes a pleasure, or a drive, it’s unfathomable to think it’ll eve be anything more than punishment.
Yesterday I realized that we are running TO something, or we are running FROM something when we run. One is from a position of strength, while the other is from a position of weakness.
Power is bipolar. It has both positive and negative energies. We all contain both aspects of that AC/DC current and depending on what we’ve been exposed to at any given moment during the day, and more importantly, how we choose to act given a certain energy, will determine whether we exude a positive energy or a negative. We are our own power generating plants. Some people are said to be able to suck the energy from a room in mere seconds while others empower those around them with nothing more than their presence.
We run to achieve a goal, TO make an important meeting, TO pick up our date, or TO get our take out supper. We run TO something positive as though we were drawn to it because of the positive energy you will receive at the end of your run, the reward whatever that may be. We are like a moth drawn to a flame. The closer we get TO the end, the harder we try TO run. Running TO is running from a position of power.
We are faced with many decisions daily. Some are easy while others are very difficult. The same can be said of the innumerable people we interact with daily. There are those who are very easy to get along with. The two of you have the same approach to life, a mutual understanding of each other, a like, a respect and perhaps even a love. It’s a pleasure to engage in a conversation with these types of people. They empower you, and make you feel good.
Then there are the soul suckers, the bullies, the whiners, and the miscreants in our lives with no other function than to make us miserable, fearful, depressed, or angry. These are the people we avoid. These are the people we run FROM. We run FROM threats, fires, robberies, danger, and fear. We aren’t running TO something; we are simply running from something negative.
If you accept this line of thought, then running FROM something is the opposite of running TO something, and if running TO is a position of power, running FROM must be a position of weakness. Instead of standing our ground, and facing our fear, we run from it.
RUNNING A BUSINESS
The CEO of a corporation is said to run the company. S/he have their hand on the controls, and are tasked with making the decisions necessary to guide the company TO it’s goals. The personality of the person in-charge, and their “true” motivation for assuming the top position will determine whether the company is running TO, or running FROM. Running FROM could be from fear, a fear of failure, fear of criticism, or fear of loss of social standing. Ego’s play a huge role in whether a corporate leader can handle running TO or resorts to running FROM.
How many corporations are founded on the bedrock of empathy? Empathy for their employees, their customer, their neighbors, community, or the environment? I would hazard a guess, and say less than 5%, and that may be a way off the chart high figure. Perhaps less than 1% may be more palatable. If those at the top were really running TO something in a position of strength and power, they would be taking everyone below them along for the ride consumed with the positive energy of the leader. This doesn’t happen very often. The CEO is tasked with answering to the shareholders, and all they care about is the bottom line, not whether the employees are happy or the community and the environment are healthy.
The world needs strong leaders who are willing to take the risks associated with running TO something positive regardless of the negatives that may come their way from those who are more than willing to derail any attempts at change. In order to achieve positive change, mistakes almost always have to occur. Trial and error is how we learn, and grow. Most companies are not willing to sustain this learning curve long enough to allow a leader to continue to run TO a positive end goal.
Think of any sports team that’s in a rebuilding period. After a long string of losing seasons, change is brought in in the form of a coach with a winning record. Someone the owner believes can right the ship. Everyone knows that building a strong contender takes time, a few seasons at least before the right personnel are in place and they all gel as a team. Yet in the corporate world such “coaches” are far and few between with most being shown the door after a failed “yearly quarter or two.” You can not run TO a positive outcome when you’re also running FROM a fearful one at the same time.
Fear begets fear and strength begets strength.
RUNNING YOUR LIFE
Are you running TO something in your life, or are you running FROM something? There is no more important question you can ask yourself.
“Am I running TO a positive self, great accomplishments, good self-esteem, resiliency, and energy or am I running FROM a life of self doubt, negativity, low self esteem, bullies, threats, fear and a belief that the things “they” always say about me are true…well, probably true?”
How you live your life is a choice made by one person…you. You decided how to act and subsequently react. The old saying, “You make me so angry,” is about as false as the bark of a scared dog. No one can make you anything. You decided to be angry. You cold have walked away, come back with a retort, laughed, raised your hand and turned but instead you chose to be angry. They didn’t make you anything. All you got was a barrel of outside information…nothing more than words, attitude, inflection, tone, and body language. From all that fleeting burst of verbal and emotional input, you made a decision, and reacted. You chose whether to run TO or run FROM the negative situation.
WE ALL RUN
We all run. We run everyday. Some of us run physically, while all of us run emotionally. Not one of us stays in a psychological bubble protected from the vagaries of life. We all run TO, and we run FROM all day depending on the given circumstances, our mood, our ability, and of course our personality.
Strength doesn’t necessarily come from those who are extroverts. I’m an ENFJ on the Myers Briggs personality scale. I rate as an “E”xtrovert. That’s a given, and I’m sure most who know me will agree that this describes me to a “T”. One of my good friends is an INFJ which rates him as an :”I”ntrovert yet we were both retired police officers having put in almost 30 years each on the mean streets of our respective cities.
Through our long teas, we have come to realize though we bore different personalities, we have indirectly shared the same morbid, high pressure, horrible “faith in God and man questioned” experiences during our careers though in cities hundreds of miles apart.
Being one personality or the other means nothing when it comes to power. I couldn’t hold a candle to my friend in a battle of words when faced with an aggressive person. Yes, I could chop a scumbag to pieces in seconds with a shotgun barrage of words designed to not only unarm the unfortunate puke, but also rend him impotent for life. On the other hand, my buddy could accomplish the exact same results with the use of silence. Not a word needed. That is the power of running TO something, as opposed to running FROM it.