I’ve been a casual runner ever since I joined the track and field team in high school. It wasn’t love at first step and I was never anything more than average, but I committed to stomping the pavement several times a week and always felt accomplished after I did. I still know the exact course I’d run around my neighborhood; it’s the same course I love running anytime I’m in town because I can see all the changes of the place I’ll always consider “home.” It wasn’t until about one year ago when I realized that even after so many years of running, the cities in which I ran may have changed but my running never really improved or progressed. I ran about 2 miles at the same pace, no hills, no highways, no running partners and never a single race to validate my efforts. I never challenged myself to reach beyond that mental wall I built as my physical limit. I blocked myself from thinking I could ever go further or faster. Maybe it was the fear of discomfort or the uncertainty of trying something I didn’t already know I could do, but it was everything I had to push past to start my own business. So why couldn’t I apply this same confidence and discipline to trigger myself to excel in running?
The first time I broke my normal running course and added in an extra mile loop was the same time I also allowed my first running partner to join me. It was new, physically uncomfortable and at times so tempting to stop and walk, but with someone else at my side, I pushed through it all because I didn’t want to let him see anything less than my best. The whole run, I felt like I was struggling to just to keep up, but later learned from my partner that he was struggling just to do the same. We were both pushing each other while pushing ourselves. And so I found my trigger. Unlike entrepreneurship, which is very much a solo journey, my journey toward becoming a better runner required a partner – someone to push me to do better and remind me that no matter what, I can always take one more step.
In the months since that first run which pushed me out of my rut, I’ve started running in almost every city to which I travel, conquering hills, highways, woods and running with groups of 3 and 4 people along the way. I’ve also run with marathoners who would have easily intimidated me just a year prior, but held my own. The last thing I have yet to do to completely tear down all of my mental walls around running is to participate in a race. A 5k is less than what I do on a regular basis right now, so there’s no reason I couldn’t jump right in with the next community race. It’s amazing that all of these accomplishments were always obtainable, I just didn’t have the right trigger to make me want to do better.
The question I want to pose to you today is in what part of your life are you lacking the drive to want to do better? This could be a making a career change, mending a relationship, starting a hobby or exploring a religion. We all have something, maybe many things, that are just waiting for the right trigger to spur us into action. Each of these may require a different trigger to get us moving forward and what works for one, may be the opposite for another. What’s most compelling to consider is how obtainable these goals might be to reach, if only we put our full efforts into trying.
I’d like to close with sharing that in exactly 2 months from today, I’m going to marry my first running partner whose ability to challenge and encourage me in every aspect of my life has made him my true soul mate. I suppose this also makes him my trigger for a whole lot more than just running…