It’s A Feel Thing

AJW writes about the process of making decisions with one’s head versus the heart.

By on July 28, 2017 | 7 comments

AJW's TaproomIn my years as a school administrator, I’ve spent a fair amount of time studying decision-making. Both as a person needing to make dozens of decisions a day as well as someone who has found himself mentoring future educational leaders, I have actually become quite a student of how we make decisions and, in particular, how we decide how to decide.

If that last phrase seems odd, bear with me for a minute. In many organizations and institutions, decisions need to be made constantly and quickly. Some of these decisions have small impacts while others have massive impacts and in all cases they are usually important to someone in the organization. For a leader, deciding how to decide can be the key step in the process and is, in many cases, a true blend of art and science.

When I am facing down a decision, particularly a high-impact one like what salary increase we should give all of the teachers for the next school year or whether or not we expel a troubled student, I often find myself toggling between the rational and the emotional, the head and the heart, ultimately, between thinking and feeling. And, in just about every case, I tend to lean toward the emotional/heart/feeling side. Sometimes I think it’s just because I was born that way and other times I think it’s because that’s the way others around me have made decisions. Regardless, it seems to be the way I tend to go just about always. And that is where running enters the picture.

You see, at least for me, running is a deeply feeling endeavor. Sure, there are aspects of it that require rational thought and focused reasoning, but for the most part it’s all about the heart, guts, and the inherent notion that the feel of running is better than the feeling of not running. When I am out there pounding out the miles, I expose a part of me that is 100% emotion, I am able to clear my head and just live in my heart. It is as close as I get to that instinctual part of me that lies dormant much of the rest of the time.

And so I’ll continue to juggle between the head and the heart in my work and my family life. But, when it comes to my running, I’ll remain firmly committed to the world of the heart. I’ll remain open to that animal in me that responds to feelings first and along the way I might just tap into some part of my soul I haven’t found yet. For it is through being a seeking runner that a lifetime of emotion has been honed. Through running, a sense of peace and well-being has been crafted. And in running I continue to inhabit a place that makes me who I am meant to be.

Bottoms up!

AJW’s Beer Wine of the Week

Hill Haven Provisions Robie Point Pinor NoirThis week’s Beer of the Week is actually a bottle of wine. Last month at Western States, I was presented with a bottle of Pinot Noir from Robert and Caroline Boller. Caroline, as many of you know, is an accomplished ultrarunner and her husband Robert equally accomplished in the wine business. Their delicious Robie Point Pinot Noir, of Hill Haven Provisions, was made specifically in honor of the Western States 100 and is a delicious partner to steak, spaghetti, and maybe even soup.

Call for Comments (from Meghan)

  • How do you most often make decisions, with your head or with your heart? Perhaps a combination of the two?
  • Does the way you make decisions change with the issues you face? As in, do you act on your heart in some parts of your life and with your head in others? Can you explain how this varies for you?
Andy Jones-Wilkins
Andy Jones-Wilkins finished in the top 10 men at the Western States 100 7-straight times. He's sponsored by Patagonia and Drymax socks and is iRunFar's editorialist.