Recently I was privileged to meet a man who achieved his goal after major adversity.
Imagine you were married for six years and your partner told you that they wanted to leave you. Imagine that after a grueling eight month interview process you secured a dream job with Google only to have it ripped away from you eighteen months later thanks to the Global Financial Crisis shutting down your office.
After having these kinds of set backs you might think to yourself it would be easy to just move back with your parents, take up a generic job and quit trying in life.
Tristan Miller acted in the opposite.
Tristan sold his house, his car and his possessions to embark on a year long journey around the world to run marathons. Not just any marathons but rather 52 marathons in 52 weeks. Wow!
Doctors told him it was a bad idea for his health, friends at his running club Tribal just thought he was drunk when he told them and the inner voices reminded him that he was throwing away all the wealth he accumulated over the 33 years of his life.
As the story goes he ran his 52 marathons in 52 weeks over 7 continents in 2010.
I’ve personally never ran a marathon (and some day I would like to build my body up to that point), Tristan shared with me some very valuable life lessons;
The Importance Of Having Goals
I would like to believe that everyone reading this has some form of goal. They maybe short term goals like sales targets or assignment deadlines and others may long term like weight loss or personal development. Who ever you are, it is important that you have goals in both your personal and profession life. Failure to have goals will result in you waking up years from now and very little has changed.
Have you ever had a conversation with yourself where you attempt to talk yourself out of an exercising session? Anyone who has pushed through that conversation will know that once your start it is hard to stop. The endorphins kick in and you complete the whole session.
Emotion is created by motion.
No matter what goal you have set yourself, make sure you have started a path to achievement. 95% of goals live in imagination land because we never put an action to it.
Let Others Know About Your Goals
When you tell others about your goals the universe seems to pull things together to help you achieve them as long as you have committed to them with action. Letting other people know will mean you are serious about your goal and your friends and colleagues will assist you in achieving them. If nobody knows then how will we help?
Learn To Push Through
In life we are faced with walls which hinder our progression. Instead of walking away we need to learn to find ways to get through. Push, jump, walk around, climb… Just find a way through. Continue to use positive reinforcement to push through your toughest challenges and remember that achieving a goal (much like a marathon) isn’t just about coming first, it’s a personal achievement so do YOUR best.
Break Your Target Into Bite Sized Pieces
Some goals are bigger then others and your goal upon reflection might be so big that you don’t know where to start. It would be easy for Tristan to look at his 2,160+ kilometres worth of running and be completely overwhelmed. Keep your focus on the challenge at hand and break it down to achievable bite sizes. If you want to lose 10 kilos of weight you should focus on achieving the first kilo then the next and then the next. Once your focus is on a smaller goal you can put action to losing that first kilo.
By accumulating these small victories you will feel better about yourself, you will keep focused and your path to success will remain positive.
Get Used To Being Uncomfortable
Anytime you do for the first time is going to be uncomfortable. This is the start of the learning process.
Far too often people limit themselves with beliefs which were created in the past. Some people even decided who they were in high school. Hanging on to these out of date beliefs will limit your potential. To achieve your goal there are going to be moments which you need to try something new. Expand your bubble and try something new. I personally realised four months ago that I hit a brick wall when it came to my health so something had to change. My current food choices only got me so far so I decided to become a weekday vegetarian. 27 years of my life I had consumed meat during lunch, dinner and sometimes for breakfast. My menu choices at restaurants were now limited and I had to forfeit home cooked meals with the mother in law because they were laced with meat. In four months I have dropped 14 kilos and am at the lowest weight in 10 years. The rewards were worth the uncomfort and my will power is so strong that I naturally make the vegetarian choice. Eventually it becomes comfortable.
Tristan shared a photo which really hit home with me;
This photo of a young Indian boy was taken during the Mumbai marathon. Look at how happy he is. Smile beaming as he walks barefoot on a main road covered in a cloth. Our emotions often are dictated by insignificant things like material possessions. Anyone who has travelled overseas will tell you they return to Australia with a greater appreciation for what they have.
I look at this young boy and am reminded that happiness comes from within. My minor problems are nothing compared to his daily struggle to find a meal. The next time your manager makes a demand that frustrates you I want you to reflect back to this picture. Is the demand really that great? Are my problems really that big? My trip to Laos last year with the Save The Children Fund gave me that full appreciation of what I really have. Reflect on what you have that you can be grateful for.
It was an amazing story from a humble man. I strongly urge you to visit Tristan’s website and find out more about his story. Below I have uploaded the ESPN video which showcases his journey.