Conquering the Marathon

It’s been two weeks since the last time I posted, but my desire to live life motivated and motivate others continues. So what better way to do it than to share a story of my own.

Setting a goal and reaching it is about discipline. But it’s also about persistence and motivation!

Six months ago I had just completed my longest run in a 10k Mud Run. It was demanding, disgusting, and fun – all those adjectives in one packed day! After that run a friend of mine invited me to join him and another friend of ours for a Marathon. He said it would be a bigger challenge but that I was physically up for it. Without yet knowing the full distance (I still get confused between my Km and Miles), I said yes and never looked back. I got a training schedule that would slowly increase my running distance over a four month period, and the next time my friend and I met he was surprise to find out I had taken it serious. Fast forward to last Sunday and I can proudly say I’ve completed my first Marathon. It will go down as one of the best memories of my life. 5 hours and 20 minutes of continuous running just to complete the coveted 26.2 miles!

Looking back at all those days of training – short and long runs alike – all it took was discipline, persistence and motivation. I had set a goal and I was committed to achieving it. These three words explain my commitment to keep pressing on. They are also key to reaching other goals in life as I learned a lot from this experience.

Discipline – Once I had decided to run a marathon I recognized that I needed training. Even though I knew I couldn’t always keep up with the regimented schedule of weekday long runs (due to work and family), I still committed to exercising during the week and having long runs during the weekend. I never missed one of those weekend runs. Whether I felt good or not, rain or shine, I got out on the road and kept running. There were days that I doubted myself and my ability to run these long distances. I remember thinking that I needed to keep going and stick to the plan. It paid off on the day of the marathon! Discipline is about planning the work and working the plan.

Perseverance – Those training days were hard! Seriously, after a long work week the last thing I wanted was a physical push to my body. But I kept going. Even when other friends had better plans than to spend time running. Even when there was something interesting on TV. Even when my body preferred some lighter workout. Even when… (you fill in the blank). On the day of the marathon I remember my friends words of wisdom, “one foot in front of the other.” That is all you need to keep pushing through; to persevere and run a marathon!

Motivation – During those long weekend runs, there was one thing that kept me motivated. It was the same thing that kept me motivated during the day of the marathon – my family and friends! Running a marathon is a huge accomplishment, but I was only made aware of this when my wife and children would wait for me in anticipation during those long training runs. I remember the words of encouragement: “you did great,” “that was quick,” or “you will conquer that marathon!” Those words played in my head over and over during the day of the marathon.

Additionally, my friends and I kept encouraging each other every week. Our running was always a topic of conversation when we would meet. We were together through each of the 26.2 miles. They were there during the hardest time of the run. The last 6 miles were particularly difficult for me. I wanted to just stop and walk. I remember my friends saying “do not stop now,” “don’t walk, keep running,” or “we’re going to finish strong!” That continuous support was key for me.

Completing the marathon was a huge accomplishment. I will remember the day, but also the training and the support that helped me through each mile. A great example for other areas of my life.

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My friends Jason, Derek and myself.

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Selling Motivation

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I once heard Zig Ziglar say “We’re all selling something!” I remember listening to that statement and thinking about the numerous applications. It made a lot of sense to me since I work in sales. But it also struck a cord with my family. My 5-year old made it clear when he explained to me his birthday wishes: “I really want a Lightning McQueen party because he is fast and cool” he said. My first thought wasn’t really on the fact he was “selling” me his idea of a perfect party, I was actually more worried on the fact that my child had been sold to the idea of marketing (thanks Disney, 20 children’s DVDs and counting).”I want to be fast like Lightning!” he said!

I think what Zig was saying is that to be successful one needs to market themselves correctly and accept the idea that no else will do it for us. And if you really want it, then you better sell it! In my work I get to partner with individuals in order to maximize their sales potential and I use this expression often. However, I take it a step further by motivating them continuously and connecting with them personally: What do you want to achieve? How does this action link up to your goals? And what is the motive behind it?

This extra step can and makes a difference. I know that it’s part of their job so that should be enough motivation, right? Wrong. There are so many people surviving and not thriving simply because they do not know their potential. And other people’s opinions aren’t helping either. The majority of the time all they need is a little push. This is where WE come in. Me and you!

I believe in a different paradigm, one that recognizes potential for both the person needing encouragement and the one giving it. It’s really our responsibility. I’m saying this while also recognizing that not all ideas will become a success. Sometimes encouragement can be given as directing someone in the right path. There should be wisdom and context with each encouragement. So can you do it? Will you do it? All it takes is acknowledging the need for encouragement, for motivation, and acting on it!

As for my 5-year old? Well, he got a Lightning McQueen party and he is getting faster and faster. He sold it to me and I’m motivating him to believe in himself and helping him see his desires with the right context and the right reasons!