Monday, April 19, 2010

What's YOUR Boston Marathon? Are you Dreaming Big Enough?

It's Patriot's Day. April 19, 2010.
So you know what that means?
It's the Boston Marathon!

Many of you know that when I turned 50, I decided to do a marathon to celebrate. Not QUITE sure what I was thinking, but it sounded like an appropriate challenge. It took 11 months of training to get off the couch and conditioned enough that I could finish the race.

Afterwards I expected some brilliant enlightened moment to hit me. Something profound. Something magical.

Sorry to dissappoint. Perhaps I'm a slow learner, but there was no profound inspiration . . . not at that moment. I learned I could set goals, keep an exercise schedule, enjoy sweating and not freak out when my heart reached aerobic target areas.

Upon reflection, though--I realize I didn't set my goals high enough.

I spent 11 months visualizing finishing the marathon. I trained so that I could sustain the minimum pace to win a medal. (For non-marathoners, EVERY person who finishes the race in the prescribed time gets a medal--not just the top 3. Thus part of the appeal is definately race bling.)

So guess what? I finished the race. And I did it with 4 minutes to spare. If I had taken 1 more potty stop or slowed 9 seconds a mile . . . I wouldn't have qualified for my medal. Nothing like cutting it close!

After the race--it felt goooooood to relax. It felt great to sleep in on a Sunday morning instead of hitting the treadmill for a long run. I was a "Marathoner!" I'd already proved to myself I could do it, so it was time to slack off a little on the training and ENJOY being an athlete.

I continued racing (shorter races), but stopped putting the effort into it. My next race results reflected my lack of effort.

A year after doing my first marathon, I had returned to being a couch potato. One that could finish a race--but not an athlete. It wasn't my knees or legs that let me down--it was my head. I had stopped dreaming goals.

What if I had dreamed a higher goal? That I would not only finish a marathon--but do it faster? what if I dreamed of a regular set of races, working towards a faster marathon? What if I dreamed of winning my age class?

What if I dreamed of the Boston Marathon? I'm very aware of how much work it would take to qualify and it scares me. But if you don't even dream it . . . how will it ever happen?

I believe this is true in business as well. We can have all the right tools, all the right aptitudes --but without the dream--the goal--we won't get very far. We'll do "just enough" to get by. That might be okay for most people. Getting by can be comfortable. Getting by is just great . . . for your competition. But what about you?

In your heart,--do you dream big? Do you open yourself to the possibility that if you dream it--it can happen?

What's your Boston Marathon? Are you willing to commit?