"You cannot push anyone up the ladder unless he is willing to climb.” – Andrew Carnegie
If there is anything that I have learned from people who have approached me about getting into running or even helping to coach them for a bit, it is as exactly as Andrew Carnegie stated. To reach their goals, they must be willing to do the work. Pushing is likely to be met with resistance.
While most people at work know me as someone who runs, most do not know that I podcast or blog about it. I display my race bibs that I run during the school year and have my Boston Marathon poster hanging up, but I don't stand on a pulpit and preach my passion for the sport. The bibs and posters in my office are also a conversation piece with my students when they talk about how far they had to walk to get somewhere or about how they need to start doing something to get rid of their frustration or anger that is built up. I know my audience and know that if they have a question I will gladly answer or point them in the right direction. Preaching will tune them out.
Recently at work, I have been approached by several individuals about running and their goals for the year. One individual was quite happy when I told them that the early registration ($60) for the Free Press Marathon was open so that they could afford to run the event. They have been working dilligently for a couple of years to put their body and mind in the right frame to be able to train for the event. Another individual, proudly talked about how they have been running again and how he and his wife are looking forward to race a 5k in the spring. I realized in discussion with these individuals that there were a couple of key points that were contributing to them climbing the ladder.
1. Be Supportive: - Their goals are not your goals. Whether someone is getting off the couch and getting moving or looking to run their first marathon, be supportive of their endeavor. They were the ones that came up with this goal and are telling you for a reason.
2. Be Authentic: - In short, people can sense if you are blowing smoke up their ass or not.
3. Be an Ambassador: - Running is not perfect. There are highs and lows out there on the roads and trails, but the reason we keep going back is to recapture those moments when everything is clicking and the miles fly by. If they ask, talk to them about it.
It doesn't take much to help a fellow runner or someone who is just starting out. Be supportive, be authentic, and be an ambassador.