In my ongoing effort to provide executive and business coaching services in the Greater New York and Philadelphia areas as well as in many other places (including India) I come across many fascinating and interesting people, one of them Oi Yen Lam from Malaysia. I met her in New York while on assignment for AFS Intercultural Programs (www.afs.org).
A couple of years ago I published a piece from her on the iDIMENSIONS Business Coaching Services Bulletin Board – www.idimensions.net/bulletin.html [read article]. In the brief piece, she vividly described how she had accomplished a personal goal — completing the 2010 New York Marathon to raise funds for the AFS Intercultural Program Diversity Scholarships:
My preparation for the marathon proved to be an exercise in discipline and mental focus, as I squeezed my training runs between work and personal commitments. During the race, I “hit the wall” at Mile 18, when I reached my physical limits and had to mentally will myself to reach the finish line. Ultimately, what fueled my mental alignment during the final hours of physical exhaustion was the incredible support of my family, friends, donors and the cheering bystanders around me. I successfully made it to the finish line within the goal I had set for myself and reached my fundraising benchmark.
Oi Yen is now finishing up her MBA at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. Post-MBA, she plans begin a new career as a management consultant in Seoul, South Korea. As she told me “It’s a daunting move, but I look forward to new adventures.”To kickstart 2013, Oi Yen was recently in Peru, where she climbed the 6,057m Mount Chachani with 20 classmates.
From iDIMENSIONS Business Coaching Services we asked her why this (constantly challenging yourself) is important to her?
I believe that self-awareness is a critical component of personal development. When I am battling severe altitude sickness and making decisions for my team at 18,000 feet, I gain a better understanding of my decision-making styles, motivations and vulnerabilities while under pressure. By reflecting on the reasons and outcomes of my decisions, I learn how to be a better teammate and leader. Taking up a new challenge is also a great way to observe and learn from those around you, as I meet so many inspiring people during my journeys.
Finally, I enjoy new challenges because they remind me that I am living the life to the fullest. I am always amazed by the beauty of human emotion and the world around us. It’s hard to forget the faces of your fellow marathoners when they cross the finish line, the joy of making a new friend in a foreign country, or the sunrise above the cloud line.
The “Marathon Method” – Learning through challenging and testing yourself – an excellent preparation for leadership of yourself and others.