Last September I completed a Dirty Girl Mud Run, a messy, non-competitive fundraiser that supports breast cancer research. This week I scheduled ankle surgery for the three ligaments I tore that day, which never healed. My recovery will include a second round of contraptions, appointments and pain, including a few weeks without walking and several without driving.
It would be easy to stew in frustration about this circumstance. How stupid to make myself vulnerable just to do something fun and charitable! What about my clients? How will [meaningful subject] get done? And how will I stay (almost) in shape?
Some important leadership lessons emerge from this theoretical internal monologue:
TAKE A CHANCE. Put yourself out there and you might get hurt. You also might accomplish something pretty cool, with lasting positive outcomes.
FACE THE CHALLENGE. The more difficult things become, the more we can challenge ourselves to think creatively. Looking at the “who, what, where, when and how” of a current approach can help us identify a way to adapt it.
ACCEPT THAT LIFE WILL GO ON. Unless we are regularly saving lives and no one else can fill in for us, there will likely be no fatal impact of limiting our actions.
ACT THOUGHTFULLY. When time is especially limited, prioritizing becomes more important than ever. While we may like everything that’s on our to-do list, how many of those actions are necessary? Can any be delegated?
SEIZE THE OPPORTUNITY. Sometimes a setback provides the motivation we need to improve the status quo. Maybe it’s that thing you’ve wanted to do but haven’t fit into your routine. Or maybe, like me, it’s time for you to exercise some new areas while other ones heal.

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