Are you running away or toward something?

As a leader throughout my career, I have found myself in situations that have involved conflict. I have never enjoyed confrontation and always found myself “running away” when I could throughout my career. When I knew that I needed to deal with a problem, I would often just try to put it off or run away from it as long as I could. Unfortunately, the longer I put it off, the worse it would get in many cases. If only I would have just “run to” the situation! One thing I have learned about myself is that I don’t enjoy disappointing people. In fact, I hate it. It’s one of my weaknesses and when things don’t go as expected, I feel really bad. I once heard that character is often revealed, not during the good times, but when the challenges arrive. When I find myself relocating talent, it often goes very well, but when the move doesn’t go well, I have learned that it is much more beneficial to “run to” the problem that “run away”. People just want you to communicate and be honest about the situation and know that you are doing everything you can to create the best experience. This is the case in pretty much every role in every industry.

I remember when I was coordinating corporate moves early in my career. During this time, we were partnering with a fortune 100 company and the lady that managed the mobility program challenged me like know other. Every time she called; she would ask what was going on with different moves. Early on, I was always in reactive mode and every time I saw her number come up on caller id, I would “run away” from the call if I thought I might have bad news or failed to get information she had requested. However, over time, I learned to be more proactive, and anticipate her call. I would send her information before she asked and make sure she had details she needed to have success in her role. When a move was going well, I let her know. When a move was not going well, I let her know. The more I would “run to” the situation, the easier it seemed to be. In fact, many times the problems shrunk when I communicated the situation and stayed in front to keep her in the know – even when there were challenging issues. As I reflect, I am thankful for her approach and that she challenged me to “run to” the situations and be better in my role. This is what happens when we “run to” problems. When we address them early, it relieves stress for everyone because we better understand the situation. It may not make the problem go away, but it will make the situation much easier to deal with.

Recently, I was interviewing Senior HR Business Partner Kim Kneidel on “Life in the Leadership Lane” podcast episode 62 when I asked her if she had any advice that she had been given and now finds herself sharing with others. She said that a colleague once shared the question, “Are you running away from something or toward something”? It’s such a great question and caused me to reflect this weekend on the things I am currently running toward, and running away from… Here are a few things that come to mind:

Running toward…

  • Things that align with my goals
  • People with ideas
  • Lifters and encouragers  
  • Better habits
  • Deeper relationships
  • Anything that helps me learn and grow
  • Things that bring me energy
  • People that challenge me
  • Today and Tomorrow
  • Family and friends

Running away from

  • Things that don’t align w goals
  • Toxic people/things (gossipers, news)
  • Bad choices/habits
  • Negativity
  • Yesterday
  • Comparing myself to others
  • Discouragement
  • Fear
  • Impossible
  • Saying yes to everything

Yes, I still struggle with confrontation, but I have found myself getting better because I understand the importance and choose to “run to” address challenges… If it needs to be addressed, run to it and you will also find that it’s so much easier to sleep at night when we address challenges early on.

What about you? What’s on your list? Maybe it is saying yes to being interviewed on a podcast or news show. Maybe it is delivering bad news, or maybe it is running to that next goal that is on your heart. Share your list with someone you know and start a conversation. It just might drive your next project, goal, or even career!

Quote of the Day: “Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion, or it will be killed. Every morning a lion wakes up. It knows it must outrun the slowest gazelle, or it will starve to death. It doesn’t matter whether you are a lion or a gazelle. When the sun comes up, you better start running.” -Thomas Friedman

Call to Action: Make your list(s) and share with someone you know. …then start “running to” asking this question!

This is “Move to Inspire” with Bruce Waller! For more information, call 972-389-5673, or email or check out my social media Facebook and Twitter page. Also, check out to review my leadership book “Find Your Lane” and journal “Milemarkers” both available on amazon. Be sure to subscribe to my YOUTUBE channel for weekly messages to encourage you and others in the workplace! Looking for a Podcast? Check out “Life in the Leadership Lane” on APPLE PODCAST as I talk to leaders making a difference in the workplace! Interested in a book club? Join our book club “CLIMB” on Facebook.

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