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?