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Transferable Traits: Determination

What does the ambitious driven professional and a marathon runner have in common?

by My Finish Line


What does the ambitious driven professional (who is working until 8pm to diligently finish a task to the upmost standard) and a marathon runner (who is analysing her heart rate and pace with six miles of a long and difficult run to go) have in common?

Well, quite a lot actually. In fact, modern demographics would indicate that they are often the same person. However, determination is a trait which makes goals achievable and ambition more than merely a word. There is something inherently attractive in an employee’s level of determination for an employer, as there is for a coach seeing it in an athlete. Exhibiting a high level of determination means that the pre-requisites of motivation and drive are already present.

A person’s determination is put to the test when running. A runner needs to be able to tolerate the physical discomfort which running often brings, and also the mental discomfort of that little voice in their heads begging them to stop. A runner needs to exhibit the kind of determination that drives them on, almost without thinking, to try and improve on their own best standards.

Running is not merely getting from A to B in as little time as possible. From a psychological perspective running can be both meditative and thought-inducing; both calming and stressful. Running, with little company except your own thoughts, can significantly widen your mental bandwidth and give you heightened experiences of tension and tranquillity. Experiencing these while running can help prepare you for how you deal with similar experiences in your professional workplace.

When you need to know whether you have the capacity to dig deep and carry on, or show fortitude when your back is up against the wall, there is no doubt that your trainers and your watch can give you as good a feedback as any corporate strategic away-day. Showing the determination to finish a race when the pain or fatigue is overwhelming; or you simply haven’t experienced anything like it before, shows that you have the determination to go beyond your own personal comfort barriers and place yourself somewhere that you haven’t been before both physically and emotionally.

It makes tolerating the pain of an hour long powerpoint presentation a lot easier, too.