Last year was the first time that I had ever gotten to the podium in any race I had attempted. All my life I had assumed I was good, mediocre. In school I knew that I could ace almost any test thrown at me. But for some reason I sandbagged it. I knew that with a little effort that I could get straight A’s, make the AP classes, and do well. I don’t say that to boast by any means because I never did learn what it took to get there. I didn’t take the time to learn the subject matter, so I still can’t tell you how to solve one calculus equation. But I could have. I know I could have. I don’t know if it was nature or nurture but I would catch myself purposefully checking out during class. I didn’t want straight A’s. I didn’t want all eyes on me. Ever. I don’t know why. I had a great family. I had the ability to learn. I was good at tests. But I didn’t want to be the best. I would check out. Later in life, when I really started running, as I reflect back, I’ve been doing the same thing. I knew I was a decent runner. My times were good for being a relatively new runner. But then I plateaued. And never even tried to break through that plateau.
What’s changed? Last year, upon reading The Miracle Morning, I decided to commit to a morning routine that included affirmations and visualization, amongst other things. I’d never done either or taken either seriously. I had taken a picture of a Spartan racer, in the heat of battle, with a quote that said “Your body will quit a thousand times before your body will. Feel the fear and do it anyway.” I’ve seen that quote attributed to many different people so I’m not sure who originally stated it, but for some reason it stuck with me. I started visualizing myself not pulling back in a race when I know that if I keep pushing that I can get there. I internalized the quote as I repeated it aloud during my training. Then one day, during an obstacle race, it was coming down to the end of the race and I was sitting in 4th place on the heels of third with 5th coming up behind me. I found myself, and I was shocked, putting the brakes on and getting ready to settle. To not push through in the final 1/2 mile. Then, the image with the quote popped in my head. “Push!” “Keep moving”. And I did! And I caught the 3rd place guy and passed him and easy cruised into 3rd place for my first podium of an obstacle race. That race taught me a lot about myself. That I can get there if I keep moving. Keep going. Don’t quit. Be consistent. I’ve found the same to be true in business as well. It’s not the smoothest sales guy or the genius that wins. It’s the warrior that keeps moving. Always moving forward toward the goal. I’ve come to realize that it’s a trained response and one that must be practiced. For me it’s through visualization and affirmations. For you it may be something else. Find what it is that will encourage you to keep going and stick with that thing. The feeling at the end is worth all the effort to get there.