5 Leadership Lessons I Learned from a Torn Quad

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Recently while working out at CrossFit, I ripped my quad.

It hurt about as much as you’d expect ripping a quadriceps muscle would hurt. Unless, of course, you thought it wouldn’t hurt at all. In which case…it hurt much more than that.

image via: http://www.flickr.com/photos/crossfitpulse/

I was doing a kip-up, a martial arts-style move where you “jump” from your back all of the way on to your feet. I made it to my feet, and in that moment, all of the energy transferred to my already-weakened quads, and I instantly felt the pain shoot through my legs.

I sat down for a minute, trying my hardest not to throw up. And trying to act like I was ok. One of the trainers came over to check on me. “You’re probably just tight…and when I’m tight, I just take my fist and pound down my leg like this…” at which point he punched me in my leg. I crumpled to the ground like a man with a torn quad would if punched in said torn quad.

It’s taken me a week to get back to the gym. I’m not nearly at 100%…just close nough to fake my way around.

In the process, I learned a lot about life and leadership.

5 Leadership Lessons I Learned from an Injury

1. Stretching is vital.

If I’d stretched a bit more, I may have prevented my injury. Or at the very least, stretching would’ve reminded me that my quad was still weak.

In leadership: Before major decisions, take a moment to breathe. Before you blow up on a co-worker, stop and check your heart. Before you move forward, take a moment to look back. Before you start your day, spend a few moments in prayer. It’ll remind you who you are, where you’re headed, and that you’ve got a loving Father who wants to guide and shape you every step of the way.

2. Know your limits.

Apparently, kip-ups are above my pay grade. For now. :)

In leadership: “Knowing your limits” means understanding your gifts and your weaknesses. And learning, when you’re weak, to surround yourself with others who are gifted. Don’t be prideful. Know your limits. And know that you don’t have every gift necessary.

3. Sometimes, you just have to slow down.

When I was injured, I couldn’t go to the gym. Well, I could’ve gone, but it wouldn’t have done any good. I would’ve had to sit out the majority of the workouts.

In leadership: Organizational life can move at a fast pace, and if you don’t intentionally slow down, remind yourself of what matters most, doing what only you can do, and resting, you’ll burn out. God created the Sabbath because we need it. Which is also why, I believe, He created the hammock. Sabbathing should be a part of your weekly workflow. It’s vital, whether you’re “injured,” or just want to prevent “injuries.”

4. Allow others to help you.

I had to ask for help while I was injured. I needed help across the gym floor. At home, I needed help getting ice packs ready and, at times, just doing normal activities.

In leadership: To try to lead alone is foolish. God has hard-wired us to need others. He’s created us to be dependent on Him…and dependent on other people. Don’t forsake the gift that significant relationships play in your life. Alone, you’re prone to giving up, prone to always thinking you’re right, and only have 1 life experience to draw from. Together, you collaborate, refine processes, and draw from multiple life experiences.

5. Healing takes time.

It’s taken me a week to get back to the gym. It’ll probably take me a month or more before I’m back to pushing myself.

In leadership: When you’ve been injured, whether by relationships, broken dreams, or your own bad choices, it takes time to heal. The same is true for those you’re leading. Don’t expect that you, or anyone else, can recover immediately. It might be awkward, but ask for help! Surround yourself with people who know and love you best. You might not like mine, but find a small group. And pursue active healing.

Question:

Ever torn a muscle?

 

 

Christ follower, husband, father, writer, small groups pastor at Saddleback Community Church. Communications director for the Small Group Network.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • http://undistractedchristian.com/ Tyler Hess

    ouch. thats the kind of injury where even reading about it I want to reach for my leg to make sure its okay.

    • http://www.benreed.net Ben Reed

      No reason to reach for your leg to make sure everything’s still ship shape.

      If you tear your quad, you’ll instantly know it. Trust me. :)

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  • http://willfjohnston.com Will Johnston

    Dude, ouch…

  • Anonymous

    Great post Ben.
    A lesson I have learned through a similar experience is that RECOVERY and REORGANIZATION is a very important part of the getting stronger, faster, better cycle.     After we are pushed by others or ourselves there is time necessary to reorganize from the induced chaos.   Skipping this recovery time, or not honoring our body/mind/spirit’s need for quietness and restoration often leads to the body using a back-up plan to get the recovery that it needs.    
    All too often we push ourselves and others (or allow others to push us) to our own detriment with the belief that more, faster, harder is the answer forward…  the answer is instead very often…  Rest.      

  • newsdiscussions

    And lession 6, don’t punch another person when they are down!

    • http://www.benreed.net Ben Reed

      Ha! Yes!