Like many old sayings “we are what we eat” has some truth in it. There’s a sense in which we become what we take in, what we spend time on, what we do.
Recently I was with a group of people asked to consider the question “What do you want to build?” It was in a community setting, looking at the sorts of relationships and long term outcomes we want to create. Then came the follow up question: “What are you building?” What if the answers to those questions are different? If there is a gap between what we sincerely want to achieve and the choices and actions we habitually take which divert us.
One of my goals is to run 5km without feeling as though death is imminent. I have somewhere I could run, I have shoes I could wear, I’m inspired by a colleague who has recently achieved this goal and my daughter is willing to run with me. But I use the time I could be outside exercising to read, write blogs, or indeed any number of things which may be good in themselves but don’t get me any closer to the 5km mark.
Someone who wants to be a runner has to run. A writer has to write. A leader has to lead.
It’s easy to put it off. “I don’t have time, it won’t be good enough, it will be difficult” but no one begins by running a marathon. Small steps in the right direction – literally in this case – will move me toward my goal. And it is my goal that is important, not someone else’s: 5km not the City to Bay.
Better aligning what we want to build and what we are building also requires us to feel – think – act. Feeling I want to run is just a dream. Thinking about it is the planning stage. But until I act I’m not running! Likewise setting off on a 5km run without preparation (or acting without thinking) will have painful consequences. Feel – think – act is an ongoing cycle. What I feel may change over time, how I plan and act may change too. I may discover that running is not something I want to continue to do. Or that a marathon beckons (but don’t hold your breath!).