Who most serves as your leadership pit crew? How have they made a difference in your leadership? When is the last time you really thanked them?
Support Makes A Difference
Last weekend, my friend Julie and I (along with our three, 6 year olds) had an opportunity to serve as cheering squad and pit crew for our husbands competing in the Wisconsin Ironman, 140.6 mile swim, bike and run.
It’s impressive to watch the endurance and perseverance of these athletes on this important day, after so many long hours of training. I have deep respect and salute all the finishers. Equally impressive was the long line of limping athletes waiting to sign up for next year’s competition.
What was also fascinating to watch were the serious hordes of volunteers and supporters for the race. There were over 3000 volunteers for this race, nearly one for every athlete. Many competitors had large fan clubs of friends and family members with matching tee-shirts, hand-made signs, silly hats, noise makers and carefully mapped out strategies for catching their athletes at strategic points along the race.
These supporters had as much energy after 12-15 hours as they did at the beginning, and there were still plenty of cheers when the last finisher crossed the line at midnight. I also know that preparing for a race like that requires additional behind-the-scenes help not celebrated with glitter and face paint.
I must admit, I don’t have much experience on that side of the racing bib. I am grateful for all the water handed to me one the years, and for my cheering children and those who have watched with them as they have grown up in the racing scene.
All these invested supporting players got me thinking about how vital it is for the leaders to have a strong pit crew. Leadership is emotionally, physically, and logistically challenging. Two career families make choices as they carefully balance the needs of all journeys.
Kids learn the importance of making the most of time we have together. Families make sacrifices, big brothers grow strong, relatives pitch in, friends offer support. I have had tremendous help over the years for which I am truly grateful. I have been handed lots of water from my crew.
As today’s Saturday Salutation I encourage you to reflect on, and thank those who have served on your leadership pit crew.
Your Leadership Pit Crew
- Listened intently as you struggled with leadership decisions
- Encouraged you after disappointments and setbacks
- Sacrificed something in their career to support yours
- Learned to cook while you were on the road
- Watched and influenced your children
- Been available in an emergency
- Understood when you were tired
- Supported your risk taking
- Given you perspective
- Made you laugh
To all those in my life who have, and continue to, inspire and support my leadership journey. I thank you. Namaste.