6 Lessons from the Blind Runner’s Guide

My last post shared two runners’s story, observed from a distance. They ran a half marathon together on Wednesday; I doubt it was their first nor their last. The uniqueness of one being blind and the other a guide got me thinking. So that post focused on the blind runner, lessons to learn from running blind. So what lessons could we learn from the running guide?

At some time in life, we are a guide. It may be as a parent, an employer, a teacher, a facilitator, a trainer-so many opportunities for us to tether up and lead someone down a path they have never traveled or simply can’t see to navigate on their own. In those moments, we have much to keep in mind, to consider how best to fulfill our role. From the example of guiding a blind runner, here are some things to consider.

  • Relax

If you want your runner to be comfortable and enjoy their experience, you have to lead that part of their journey also. Bringing skepticism or doubt or tension to the start line will make for a long race. So whatever you’ve got to do to step up to the start line relaxed (train a lot, know the course, anticipate questions and concerns, curb your emotions), do it!

  • Forward movement

Being relaxed will help avoid paralysis at the start line. Committing to forward progress will keep you moving long after the gun has sounded. Somewhere along the 13.1 miles, your runner may question if they can finish. Dealing with the possible-only worrying about the next step-will maintain focus on the present and let the future take care of itself.

  • Loose Grip

The tether between Brandon and Adam was less than an arm’s length, long enough to allow space but short enough to control direction and create rhythm. This subtle avenue toward confidence and freedom may be the most important path to trust. Yes, you are needed. No, you are not completely in charge. You are a guide, not a dictator.

  • Follow their Lead

The best leaders know how to follow. On race day, you have to pay attention to how they are feeling, thinking, and responding in that moment. How they were in training or at dinner the night before is irrelevant. How they show up to the start line is what you have to follow. Pay attention and follow their lead. This requires balance; but if you’re relaxed, thinking forward, and holding a loose grip, following will be much easier.

  • Respect their Pace

Get this straight: this is not your race; it’s theirs. If they aren’t thinking anything about setting a personal record or finishing in the top three, neither should you. The pace is up to them. You came to help them accomplish their goals, not yours. Whatever their pace is, respect it.

  • Stay in Your Lane

Drifting in and out of your lane will eventually result in a fall, which could have various consequences. Stay in your running lane. Stay in your emotional lane. Stay in your guiding lane. Commit to knowing your lane and staying in it. Correct any drifting step by step.

Our guiding opportunities can be very rewarding and fulfilling. Let’s embrace them in order to celebrate our tethered partner’s race.

31 Proverbs Highlights: #22-Endless Honor and Respect

(A simple series highlighting verses from each chapter of the book of Proverbs) 

The rich and the poor have this in common: the Lord made them both… Drive out a mocker, and conflict goes too; then quarreling and dishonor will cease. Proverbs 22:2,10 HCSB

Besides the rich and the poor both being made by God, here are some other “couples”:

  • Educated and Uneducated 
  • Healthy and Unhealthy
  • Old and Young
  • Country and City 
  • Married and Single
  • Churchgoer and Never been before 
  • North American and Arab American
  • Artists and Athletes 
  • Conservatives and Liberals
  • Those who live in Florida and Those who visit Florida

This list is endless. What shouldn’t be endless is any mocking between these God-created couples. 

Endless Honor and Respect is what God-created couples should embrace.

5 Actions Showing Title Respect

(This entry posted April 2016. Entering graduation season, another posting seems appropriate for those receiving titles and for those with titles hiring these newly titled graduates.)

What is Title Respect? Blogger’s definition: working in such a way that shows ongoing respect for one’s title earned through academic achievement or hired position; engaging with coworkers, clients, customers, employees, parishioners in such a way to bring respect to one’s organizational position

Is this easy? Certainly appears to be easier for some more than others. Character plays a significant role in title respect. If you are wondering how you are doing in the title respect category, gauge your efforts in these five actions:

Treating people with dignity

  • How are your “bedside manners”?
  • How often do you say, “Thank You”?
  • Do people leave your conversation feeling heard?

Continuous learning 

  • What’s the last book you read about your field of work?
  • If you’re not reading, how are you striving to learn?
  • If you’ve stopped learning, can you pinpoint why that is and address that issue?

Rolling without Flaunting

  • Do you insist your personal return address labels bear your title?
  • Does everyone have to know what charity you support?
  • Do you always have to sit at the head of the table?

Investing in the next generation

  • Who are you currently coaching or mentoring?
  • What support could/do you give to starters in your field?
  • How do you make yourself available to the 20s & 30s community?

Giving credit where credit is due

  • Who receives credit at the end of the project?
  • How does collaboration get celebrated?
  • How might you encourage someone after their first “win”?