What Seth and Ron taught me about streaking – Birds on the Blog

What Seth and Ron taught me about streaking

In common parlance, a streaker is someone who strips naked and runs – usually very fast, hence the use of ‘streaking’ – across a public space for reasons best known to themselves. Maybe they’re trying to draw attention to themselves, or protest about something, or maybe they just don’t know when to say no to a dare.

Whatever way you look at it, streakers are all in. They’re committed. (And sometimes they end up committed, too.)

Ron HillIn running, streaking has a slightly different meaning: going for a run every day. The most famous streaker in this sense of the word is Ron Hill. Now approaching 80, he’s run at least a mile every day since December 1964, with a broken sternum, on walking sticks after bunion surgery, even with his leg in a cast. And it certainly worked for him: all his best race performances came after he’d started streaking.

“Once you get into the habit of it,” he says, “you just do it.”

I streaked briefly, running every day one January, and found he’s right: the question becomes not, “Will I run today?” but “When will I run today?” And that’s a different, easier decision, even if the answer is, as it sometimes was, a treadmill mile at 11.45pm – it’s purely a question of logistics rather than willpower. (I stopped streaking at the end of the month when I came down with a heavy cold, and in retrospect that was probably a bad decision.)

Seth GodinAnother famous streaker who keeps his clothes on – at least, I assume he does – is Seth Godin, whom I interviewed last week for the Extraordinary Business Book Club podcast (you’ll be able to hear the interview on 26 September). He’s blogged since 2002, and for most of those years he’s blogged every day. Some posts are long, most are short.

It’s a discipline, it requires rigour, it’s scary, which are three of the things that are good about it… It requires you to put your name on your thought. It leaves a trail. If you know that every day, day after day, 365 days a year, you’re going to be leaving a trail about ideas, about culture, about the work you think that matters, I can’t help but imagine that you will think about it a little more deeply…. That is a wonderful gift to the blogger regardless of whether anyone reads it or not.

If you’ve never tried it, I thoroughly recommend Sarah Arrow’s 30-day blogging challenge as a way to kickstart a streak.

And I’m going to take my own advice, and commit today (not at the start of next year, or next month, or even next week) to run at least a mile a day and rejoin Sarah’s challenge to post a blog every day. I may not manage 50 years, or even 1 year, but however long I last there will be miles run and thoughts articulated that wouldn’t otherwise have happened.

It’s tempting not to start in case I fail, but every streak has to start somewhere, and today is all I really have. Plus, as Seth also said:

“If it scares you, it might be a good thing to try.”

How about you?

About the Author Alison Jones

Alison is a book coach and publishing partner for businesses and organizations with something to say. She hosts the Extraordinary Business Book Club podcast.

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