There is something about setting a goal so big that you have no clue how you will achieve it and what the final destination will look and feel like that is energizing. The first year that I participated in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer in Santa Barbara, California, I had no clue what it would be like to complete a marathon and a half, especially the bliss of the finish line.
Some people see success as a straight and focused path. I believe there is some truth to that, in fact, an acquaintance of mine one said that she keeps a sign above her desk: FOCUS- Follow One Course Until Successful. Although I fully believe in the power of focus, many are misled thinking that a focused course is linear. I’m here to tell you it is filled with twists and turns, unexpected dead-ends, trees fallen across the road, and more- but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth toughing it out.
At mile 21 of the Avon walk on Day One- the Avon Walk is a two-day 39.3 trek, a full 26.2 marathon on day one and ½ marathon, or 13.1 miles on day two- at mile 21, I hit a wall. Let’s keep it real, there are only so many bathrooms, and for a rookie, although I had trained, it’s easy to underestimate hydration- which I did.
Along the route, there are snack and hydration stops, near the end, people were handing out candies. I vividly remember being handed a few Starbursts by a smiling volunteer that offered some encouraging words as she put bits of heaven in my hand. I was so thirsty the Starbursts sounded so good…and then I dropped one! I don’t know what the heck happened to my legs but as I bent down to pick up the candy, my legs did not want to cooperate. My legs were stiff, there was no way to bend and stoop down. I looked like a forward bent zombie scrambling after something crawling along the ground. I had to laugh at myself it was so pathetic.
I don’t recall how I finally was able to pick up the candy, probably my walking buddy, Donna, but I do remember the amazing burst of flavor as my mouth salivated. It was just enough of a burst to get me to the next hydration station. Miles 22-26 were a blur. I remember thinking, that the mile 25 marker has to be coming up soon! I was searching for the finish. I could feel it was close, but it seemed so far. I had gone so far!
Finally, after all the twists and turns from the foggy early morning beach in Santa Barbara, through the searing heat as we climbed the hills through neighborhoods and then down to the polo fields at Summerland, I could see the finish.
The last .2 miles, the street was lined with cheering, smiling faces. Their smiles gave me an adrenaline rush that I will never forget. The effort that I had just put in instantly transferred from exhaustion to elation. And the next morning when I got up to do another ½ marathon from Summerland to Carpentaria- I did that on the high from the previous day.
I didn’t know what I was in store for when I committed to the Avon Walk, just like many of us don’t fully understand what our goals and dreams will really mean or be like in the end, but what I do know is that the path to success is exciting and full of twists that make the journey interesting.
I will never look at a Starburst candy the same again. It’s what happens along the path to success that makes the journey interesting and gives us many tales to tell. FOCUS on the goal, but be open to the opportunities to grow along the way.
Remember as you go about your week this week that even though you don’t know how you will accomplish what you want to, if you focus on the accomplishment, you will get there. Have an amazing week!
Jolene Church is currently working on doctoral research on critical thinking in organizational leadership. She is an accomplished motivational speaker, success coach, and the co-author of Thinking 101: Fundamentals of a Successful Mindset- available now on Amazon in paperback and Kindle or at www.successfulthinkingmindset.com . Watch for her new books to be released in 2016, Dreams Exist and How to Write a Book in 30 Days.
Jolene holds Doctorate of Management in Organizational Leadership and is a certified master success coach. Jolene's writing is continually inspired by the challenges that her clients are facing. She finds constant inspiration in the world around her and is profoundly honored to be living her purpose helping others turn impossible into possible.