It was the 8th kilometer. The asphalt under my feet was starting to feel like mud, pulling my feet down, instead of propelling them forward. The sun was hot, melting my will power to keep going in this race.
There comes a moment in life, in business, in a race, where you ask yourself “what the hell am I doing? I don’t want to do this anymore.” It is a tipping point, the precipice to completion, accomplishment, or success. You can go forward or you can stop, backwards is not an option. Often the tipping point is the hardest to approach – so close to a ledge can be scary for even the bravest of souls. And so you have an internal battle of ideas and will.
A few weeks ago I ran a 10 km race. It wasn’t the first one of my life, nor was it the longest I have done. However, it was the first in over three years, and it was hot, and I had a true inner battle of wills. The question was never whether I could finish the last two km. I could walk them. I could saunter, take my time. Enjoy the weather, the view, the air. But that wasn’t why I joined the race in the first place. I joined so that I could prove to myself that I could do this run, it was the catalyst for getting me back in shape, for getting off the couch and for hitting the pavement, or the treadmill.
At the 8th km, there was a serious discussion. It wasn’t with another person, rather, a battle between my body and my mind. In a surprising turn of events, it wasn’t my body that was saying no, my body could keep moving if I willed it, it was my mind that was throwing up blocks.
My mind had decided to show up when it wasn’t invited to the race, it had no business there.
And this is the case with so many other things, whether it is moving forward with a new business concept or idea, whether it is applying for that job that you always wanted, walking through the door of a restaurant when meeting a date for the first time, or taking the chance on hitting publish on that blog you just poured your heart into. The mind is a powerful force, one we don’t always give enough credence to. And no matter what race, business, date, accomplishment you are aiming for, you need to overcome the blocks that get thrown in your way – they are what make you stronger and give you character.
I finished the race, I finished it running, not walking, or sauntering. In fact, I sprinted the last 100 meters, because it turns out I could. After the pep talk at kilometer 8 I gave myself permission to finish, to push past the fatigue and the pain. Running that race, it turns out, was not just about the race, it became a metaphor for how I want to move forward in my business and my life, overcoming those obstacles that pop up – whether tangible or in my head.
Imagine what you can do if you just allow yourself the permission to overcome the obstacles that exist in your mind. What are those roadblocks for you? How will you allow them to add character to your life, rather than stop you in your tracks?