I was speaking with a business colleague the other day who said, “It must have taken a lot of courage to leave Corporate America and start your own business.” I’d really love to say it was a massively courageous leap of faith for me – but truth is, it wasn’t. It was my calling. Once I discovered that my true purpose in life is to make a difference in the lives of others (through coaching, team building and my Agel business), I really didn’t have a choice. And, the funny thing about all of it is this, I had no idea, no clue that is was “supposed” to be terrifying – I never even looked at it that way. I just didn’t know it “couldn’t” be done.
My friend Kevin Wanzer is a great example of this. For month’s Kevin, Dan Somers and I trained for the Chicago marathon. One morning Kevin asked us what “the wall” (also commonly called “bonking”) was. Apparently Kevin (a first time marathoner) had come across the term in Runner’s World magazine. The “wall,” if you are not familiar with it, is somewhat legendary. If you were to ask any distance athlete about preparing for or competing in their race, they will inevitable bring up the wall. It’s a point where your legs turn into mush, you are out of breath and you feel like you have run out of steam. It feels as if you can’t move any further. In sports, it’s one of the most feared and misunderstood phenomenons.
Neither Dan or I would elaborate to Kevin about our experience with the wall, instead, we suggested that he just forget about it and never consider it again. An interesting thing happened the day of our race. Kevin was really struggling at mile 18 and began to drop back. He told us to continue on without him and he would see us at the finish. At around mile 21 he came sprinting back and passed us by. We didn’t see Kevin again until we crossed the finish line. When we asked what had happened he explained that he was having a very tough time from about mile 15 to mile 18 and really didn’t know how he was going to finish the race. He considered quitting. Then, he had a bright idea and made the decision that if he ran faster he would finish faster and be done sooner. Um, hello?!
If we had explained to Kevin several weeks earlier what the wall was, my guess is that he wouldn’t have been able to run through that discomfort and adversity. He would have bought in to what is “supposed” to happen to some marathoners.
It happens to many of us in life – this “wall.” Ultimately we make it through things by making the decision to make it through things. It’s as simple as believing, doing it, and not giving up. You have to ignore what the masses say about “it can’t be done” or “it’s too difficult” or “scary.” It’s about defying the odds. Or, acting as if there are no odds. Instead, only possibilities.
My question to you is this:
What would you do if you didn’t know it couldn’t be done?