In past articles, I have shared about my (fairly new) love for running. Truth be told, though, I am not sure I actually love running itself as much as the escape that running offers me. I love the pure physical exhaustion that lets my mind be free of everything and present in the moment. I love the feeling of accomplishment when I reach a new milestone, but not necessarily the act of running itself. For these reasons, I often say that I don’t consider myself a “real” runner. (Although, once a friend scolded me for saying that, reminding me: “You run; therefore, you are a real runner.”)

Motivation: Fight, flight, and slack tide

When I first started running, I felt as though I was running away from something: job stress, fear of the unknown and the demons in my own head. In a fight-or-flight response to this challenging time in my life, this was a season of flight, and running was a means of survival. Perhaps you have found yourself here as well over the course of your career. You want to get out of a situation you are in. You do not like the company you work for. Maybe you are unhappy with your boss, or you do not enjoy the community you live in. As I reflect on my career and my life, there have been many times when I was motivated by flight—protecting myself from hurt feelings, disappointment, or fear.

However, I also can identify times when I have been in pursuit of life, when I’ve been running toward something. In the face of challenges, I had strategy, drive, and a plan to achieve the next goal. This was my fight mode. For you, perhaps there have been times you were laser-focused on accomplishing the next goal, your next career move, or a promotion. There are many reasons to make a change in your life and career, but the motivation can come from different places in your heart.
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Author: Renee JensenRenee Jensen is an executive leader and performer with over 19 years of experience developing and leading strategic transformation, innovation, change management, and optimization efforts for healthcare organizations. An expert in public hospital district operations and integrated healthcare systems, she is a trusted and effective leader who values transparency and exhibits the ability to implement cultural change and drive financial results.