Archive for 'clarity'
This summer, one of the things we did in Costa Rica involved hanging hundreds (and I mean hundreds) of feet over the thick canopy of trees of the jungle and ziplining over 10 kilometers.
And I. was. terrified. Having my limbs dangling by a series of cables and clips wasn’t on the bucket list of my life…(or at least, I didn’t think so?!) But once I got through the first few ziplines, it became crazy fun. Soon our whole group of 25+ people, including myself, were hanging upside down, twirling midair, completely awed by the beauty of what around us. How brave we had become in such a short time!
But it was taking that first step off the cliff that brought me to my edge. No comfort zone allowed here, and definitely no going back. I had to trust, breathe, and try to enjoy the feeling. And what lied on the other side of the adventure was absolutely exhilarating.
So, today, I challenge you to do something—one thing—that scares you. Because, I assure you, what’s on the other side of that road before you is worth the risk.
(I know, it’s the weekend, but I feel like this deserves to be categorized as a Friday post…)
Earlier this year, I declared my dream of running a half-marathon; it’s an aspiration I’ve held in my mind for some time and finally had the audacity to just get after it. It came to this :: if not now, then when? Truth be told :: I find myself sometimes living in regret…. yup, you’re getting the hard-core, honest truth here. There are times that I’ve either acted on something or watched the opportunity slip by and later find myself thinking I could have, should have done something differently. Honestly, I’m not proud of it, but it’s the truth. Those feelings come around less often than they used to in my life, but anyway.
I started sharing my story with others, of how I had this great big goal I wanted to accomplish, and figured that if I started declaring it to others I’d be held more accountable. Some gave me the head-tilt and a raised eyebrow. (probably the same expression I gave the hubs when he started mumbling something about participating in the race with me. youwannadowhaaat?) Others cheered me on without question, giving me advice, offering to log miles with me (which I LOVED), and sharing their own story of achieving something that at times felt almost too big to accomplish.
I felt like I owed it to myself to achieve this. To prove to myself and not anyone else that I was worthy. That I could see something, take steps toward it, and see the finish line in, well, a very literal sense. I needed to do it to prove to myself that I’m capable of taking on great big fat everyone-else-thinks-you’ve-gone-insane goals, and then take the lessons I’ve learned in its preparation and apply it to other areas of my business and life. So far, I’d say mission accomplished. I learned a lot :: and it’s all brought me closer to clarity (woo!) and the power of achieving something that seems huge in your mind. Broken down into bite-size weekly achievements, going and participating in the actual race was totally the icing on the cake. (I’d say it was gravy, but I don’t do gravy. ew.) And it was FUN. Race day was a great big lighthearted fun celebration.
The hubs actually took our Flip camera with him and documented bits and pieces of our experience on race morning. I’ll spare you most of the in-race footage as it’s a lot of shaking and breathless conversation.
The course was beautiful, weaving through some of my favorite parts of Kansas City — down Ward Parkway, through Brookside, and near Loose Park. And we loved the people, kids to grownups, cheering on total strangers as 6500 runners took on one mile after another. Some were dressed in costume; others with big signs saying things like “run, stranger, run!” and “go mom!” Their enthusiasm was contagious, but by Mile 11 I could really feel the physical and mental fatigue kicking in.
So much of this is in your head; training for countless miles every week and pushing yourself to take every next step. And then, once you break through those barriers — reaching the little goals that dangle in front of you, suddenly a whole new set of opportunities comes to light. And at Mile 11, as far as I had run to that date, I knew that this was going to take some seriously positive reinforcement to get to the finish line.
It came in the form of a text from our bestie :: we’re waiting at the finish line. Oh my god, at that moment I had the best reason of all to keep going. I could see our best friend, her daughter and little man’s shining faces waiting to hold out a hand and slap a high five for a job well done. That was the extra kick in the seat I needed at that moment to keep going.
Our finish time was better than I ever expected– when I first started training I thought I’d be happy if I finish at all, nevermind the idea that I’d finish in less than two and a half hours. We came in at a noble 2:08; which if the math serves is about a 9:48 average mile, finishing in the upper half of my age division. Woot! Now, I feel like that’s not only achieving a goal, but kicking it in the booty.
Redfaced and all, we look pretty good, no?
My finishers medal hangs in my office proudly, a visible reminder of what happens when you stick your mind and heart to a great big goal. Hopefully it’s the first of many more…anyone want to join me for the next one?
I haven’t talked much about my half-marathon training lately. (Well, I haven’t talked about much of anything for that matter. Sorry for the radio silence the last few days.)
The truth: Training for this race has gotten intense. Not hard, not bad…just intense. I’ve logged just over 20 miles in the last 7 days, and have another 13-14 ahead of me yet this week. Twenty miles?! I never imagined I’d breathe those words in this context. But I am immensely proud of that fact.
I have to admit, though, I feel good. I hardly imagined that I’d look forward to the long runs as much as I do. I get lost in my feet moving, one ahead of the other, the steady thump-thump-thump of my feet as my mind clears of everything else. Sometimes I feel like my training, this process, is like peeling back an onion–each mile passed is like removing another layer, getting me closer what the end result is going to look like. And right now, if my half-marathon were tomorrow instead of 45 days away, I know I’d do alright.
Training for this race is teaching me to trust myself. That I’m capable of what I put my mind to….this is a big issue for me. It’s part of why I chose a race like this as my Big Fat Hairy Audacious Goal – because in all honesty I wasn’t sure if I trust myself to literally, go the distance. I am surrounded by people who I’m awed and humbled with their unconditional confidence in me — because I find myself doubting my own capabilities from time to time. It’s terribly difficult for me to admit that, because I’m afraid of your judgment of me, and I would be devastated if I were to let someone down. But, love it or leave it, it’s the truth.
See you on the trails…
So in strategizing my goals and word for 2011…I came up with three lists. I won’t bore you with the fluff, but I realized a few things:
Some things worked amazingly well (i.e. going to WPPI; meeting new incredible couples, families and awesome business mentors), and some things didn’t quite meet my expectations (i.e. taking time for a personal project or two; comparing myself to others :: that never ends well). So I’m using those thoughts and experiences to work toward bigger and better things this year.
One of the things that I’m repurposing this year is the mall display. I liked having it–it was awesome to be able to display recent work in a really public setting. While it was scary and exposing to do at first, I came to appreciate having others talk about having seen their portraits, or the portraits of other people they knew. And for that opportunity, I’m grateful.
But you know what? It didn’t do much for you, and making your photography experience utterly amazing. And that’s what I’m discovering I’m after. (see? CLARITY!) I want you to walk away from your photography session thinking back to how enjoyable your experience was, how excited you are to see those images (and how we can best display them for your home), and how you can’t wait to tell someone else about it.
There’s another photographer going into the space coming up. I’ve decided to end my lease and put those advertising/marketing dollars to another use… new products, bonus items, and things that you’re going to love!
It’s just another step on the path to clarity…