My friend and I had a monumental personal accomplishment this weekend: we completed the first annual Indiana Women’s Trail Run. A quarter marathon (or 10k or almost 7 miles) hiking through Eagle Creek Park.
Most women there ran it; we walked it. I am absolutely fine with this. It was not about a time or place – it was about doing it. And we did.
What makes this so monumental is that three months ago, she had a hip replaced and I could not walk up a flight of stairs without being winded.
And we did it! We have the medal and Facebook pictures to prove it.
Looking at me most people would never have guessed what state I was in three months ago. I am a very petite person; all of 5 foot tall and maybe a hundred pounds soaking wet. I look like I am in great shape. I eat fairly healthy and do a lot of labor activity around my house.
But my cardio – it was in the crapper. I was embarrassed at my poor state of health. I will never run marathons, I know this. I do not have the desire to do so and if I ever got a crazy notion to do so my knees would immediately remind me that they protest by swelling up like cantaloupes.
I knew I would need to start working on my cardio so I joined my friend walking on the Monon. We started on Saturdays and then started walking throughout the week. Each week I felt stronger. I knew I was improving and treating my body the way I should – getting it healthy.
I realized when we were walking Saturday morning on the trail that it was completely irrelevant where I started. I could be in the worst shape or decent shape; it just didn’t matter. Crossing that finish line wasn’t really the biggest achievement.
It was the journey that I took. Making a commitment, following through, giving myself positive motivation and praise for every mile that I walked and every mile I added on. It was on the weekends and weeknights that the real change happened.
While we set a goal to finish the run, we did so much more. We felt fantastic after and on the ride back started talking about our next event. This run might have been the end point, but once we got there, it no longer was; it was just a stepping stone.
You might be struggling with your job or career right now. You might be thinking you are too old, do not have the right qualifications, it may take too long to get certified or have not finalized a plan on how to get to where you dream of going.
My advice to you today: stop looking at where you are and focusing solely on the end point. What you have done in the past, good or bad, is in the past. Today is a brand new day; an opportunity to start fresh; the day to lace up your sneakers and just take a walk.
Start setting small goals, make them a bit of a stretch but achievable. This gives you drive and the opportunity to give yourself praise for each step you take.
You do not have to know the whole road. Here’s a little secret – the road is going to change anyway. Have an end game in mind but be flexible as to how it will come about. During the trail run we came across a huge mud pit with a small lake in the middle (ok, just a little exaggeration). We were nearing the end and there was no way I was going to have my friend try to navigate that mess; and honestly I wasn’t really thrilled with the idea of trampling through that either.
I found an alternative. There was a little hidden path right next to the mess. We averted 90% of the mud and muck while staying on course and track. If you only focus on the “I have to do these things in this order” then you will miss the little hidden paths that keep the mud out of your toes.
If it is your dream or your goal than take full ownership and responsibility; this means do not let anyone else dictate your steps time table or accomplishments. You may have to tune others out and perhaps not share this vision with others so they do not poo—poo it; do what you have to do. It is not about them anyway, this is about you.
Throughout your journey there will be days you are frustrated, want to give up or just take a little break. Don’t. Keep going. Remember, yesterday doesn’t matter. One weekend we walked over 20 miles. I was so proud of myself that weekend. Monday, I told myself that was great, but it was in the past; what was I going to do this week?
Lastly, do enlist your support system. Those friends that love you unconditionally, support any crazy notion you have and offer support, not judgment. Those are the ones you will draw strength from and the ones that will help you celebrate. You need your support system, no matter who they are. My dogs are part of mine. They get laps at home to help keep me focused, motivated and routine. Oh, and they cheer me on.
Of course, they may be doing it for the puppy treats.
Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW
Brand Strategist & Career Coach
Certified Professional Resume Writer