When I launched this site about a month ago I titled it simply “Joe’s Blog.” As traffic starts to flow to the site I’ve quickly determined that the title needs to tell visitors something more specific about what they’ll find here. And in this age of sharing and “going viral” that first line of a shared resource often includes the site title. “Joe’s Blog” wasn’t cutting it.
As I considered what to call this space I kept coming back to what I’m trying to do here: Provide insight, advice, tips, tricks, and motivation to managers and leaders that help them navigate the daily challenges they face and inch their way forward in their own development. Immediately my mind went to an accomplishment of my own earlier this year that had a significant impact on me.
In April of this year (2013), after 5 knee surgeries (3 since 2011) I ran my first 5k. I’ve had complex knee issues most of my life. I’ll spare you the details but the long and short of it is that my kneecaps aren’t in the right place and I’ve struggled with instability since I was 12. As a result my ability to be active has always been limited. After several surgeries to attend to these issues, and clearance from my doctor, I decided to push myself and try to complete a 5k.
Why I picked running is beyond me. I’ve never really liked running. When I’m doing it I’m usually focused on how much longer I have to continue doing it before I get to be done. But I’ve always admired those who could run distances. It’s always seemed like quite an accomplishment. So I set out to run a 5k and used the very popular Couch to 5k training program. I promised myself I would follow 2 rules: 1) Do every single workout and 2) Don’t quit.
Completing the program over an 8 week period was incredibly empowering. When you push yourself to do something you’ve struggled with previously, even a little bit at a time, the rewards are innumerous. The program became, for me, about showing up every day and doing your best. It became proof that anything is possible if you carve away at it a little bit at a time and you refuse to give up, even when it becomes uncomfortable.
Early in the program I remembered a saying that an intern I had a few years ago repeated around the office: “Inch by inch, life’s a cinch.” Silly, right?
It’s become my mantra.
When I started training for the 5k the thought of running continuously for 30+ minutes was incomprehensible to me. But every time I would go out to do a training run that little insight would rattle around in my brain. I’d think to myself “Just do more today than you did the last time, even if it’s just an inch.” And so I did. I learned to trust that my effort, my will to succeed, would be stronger than my doubt. I learned that if I showed up every day and tried to be a little bit better than the previous go ’round, I would be successful. Along the way I started to believe I could do it. Then I was doing it.
For race day I had a t-shirt made. On the front it said “That little voice in your head that says you can’t do this is a LIAR.” Inch by inch anything is possible. That little mantra, and living it’s proof, has catapulted my self-confidence. It’s what made me believe I could start my own company, work for myself, and achieve anything I set my sights on. And in the grand scheme of things it’s really all we can do: Use each day to move forward, inch by inch, and get better at whatever we’ve chosen to spend our time doing.
So that’s where the name for the blog came from. If you are a leader, I hope you find that the content here helps you toward success…inch by inch. ~Joe