The current generation of CEOs, executives and senior managers have to be super humans. On top of a 60+ work week and a happy and harmonious family life they also need to prove themselves to the pack by doing extreme sport to show they are the right alpha male/female to lead. And which better way to do so than to pursue an ironman?
Having an ironman on your resumé sends a strong and powerful signal. You are able to set hard targets, push yourself beyond human boundaries and deliver the promised results. The ideal leader. Or so we think.
The reality is, that adding the required 20+ hrs. of training pr. week to an already packed schedule is taking time away from something much more important for executives: Recharging, sleep, reflection. In our terminology, it is adding FIRE to FIRE, as opposed to balancing FIRE and SHIELD.
And as a leader under pressure your performance and your organizations declines when you add to this pressure with something as completely unnecessary for the stockholders as an ironman.
If you’ve climbed the career ladder, you have already proven again and again that you can work really hard at achieving the goals you’ve set for yourself and others. No need to prove that by tearing your body further apart.
If you work long hours, exercise is beneficial to your health and overall well-being. But not to this extent. A 3-5 mile run, a 1-2 hr bike ride, even an aerobic class 3-5 times a week will easily do the trick. And leave valuable time for things that do benefit your organization: Recharging, arriving energized and calm with a clear mind to do a great job as the best version of yourself.
If completing an Ironman is your true passion we strongly urge you to go for it. Enjoy the ride and be proud of yourself. However, if you are dragging yourself through the experience, just doing it because you feel you have to, don’t. There is no proof it makes you a better leader, so only do it for yourself.