On one of my recent runs I was thinking about the similarities between my running and my career so I thought I’d share. Sometimes things become clearer when we view them from a different vantage point.
1. I’m running my own race
There will always be people who are faster than me, people who win awards, people who train harder, run further. It doesn’t matter. My running is MY running. I can’t be someone else. I can only do what I can with what I have and the motivation comes from within. What other people are doing is not a reflection on me and is not an indication of what I “should” be doing and achieving. If I’m focusing on what other people are doing I’m not focusing on myself, on what I want to achieve and how I’m going to achieve it.
2. It takes goal setting, planning and hard work to get from where I am to where I want to be
There’s a big difference between where I’m at today and where I’d like to be. That is ok! I know where I am now, I have goals for the future and I have a plan to achieve those goals. It’s not going to happen straight away but every day when I complete something on my training plan I’m taking a step in the direction I want to go. It’s not always going to be easy to stick to the plan but I have to stay focused on the goal if I want to reach it.
3. The road (pardon the pun) may not be a straight one.
Having said #2 above I can’t predict the future so the best laid plans may well go astray. My training for the New York City Half Marathon for example did not go exactly to plan but it was a guide only and I had to make adjustments in response to all those big and little things life threw at me. I may find myself with a different plan as I learn new things, set new goals, prioritize different aspects of my life, move new places and re-evaluate. Regardless of whether I stay on my initial track or not it is all part of my running experience and part of my life story and it’s all valuable.
4. My network is crucial
This may be my “own race” but I couldn’t do what I’ve done, or hope to achieve what I want to achieve without the people around me. From a practical perspective I can’t do everything so I’m going to need help. For example, someone to watch the kids so I can get a long run done on a weekend. More importantly though is the support, encouragement, experience and expertise available to me from my family and those in my running network.
One of the most effective things I did when I decided to take up running is find a running group. This group is wealth of information, expertise, support and encouragement. I didn’t have a clue about running or racing when I started but in my running group I had people to ask and people who were willing to share what they knew. This information has been invaluable. Another benefit of the running group is that they have inspired me to reach new heights and set goals I would not have thought possible for myself.
5. Most of the barriers to success are in my mind
When I use the term success I refer back to point one; success is what I determine it to be, not what someone else says it is. I know that most of the barriers to my success are in my mind. You know that little voice that says “you’re not good enough, not fit enough, that hill is too big, you haven’t trained enough” etc etc? What I am learning from running is that to achieve my goals I have to quieten that voice and start telling myself a different story. When I reach that hill that looks too big or that mile marker that feels too far from the finish I stop and give myself a good talking to. I can do this one step at a time.
6. The rewards are sweet
There’s nothing quite like achieving something you set out to do! Crossing that finish line feels good as does celebrating with the people who helped you get there. And then it’s time to set a new goal 🙂