This past weekend I ran the Hood to Coast Relay race with my friends at Building Champions and a few of their clients from around the country. Competing in the Hood to Coast Relay was a Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG) that I set for myself back in early May of this year. I was looking for something to take me out of my comfort zone and challenge me in area of my Life Plan that needed something more than just daily routine and activities. When my friend, Steve Scanlon, called me and asked me to join the team, I knew I had found what I was looking for. Now, almost four months later this BHAG goal has been accomplished and I've learned so much from the experience. As I reflect on my experience of running Hood to Coast I've identified four take away lessons from the 200 mile race to share with you today:
- While my training was good and I felt prepared, I quickly identified areas of weaknesses and for growth in my training and performance. This is something that often happens in life and business as well. We practice for an event, we learn a new skill, we watch or listen to others that are experts, but until we are actually performing we don't see every angle and we can't know how certain factors will effect the outcome of our performance. I learned not to be frustrated in these areas but to learn from them and setup a plan to improve in these areas for my next race.
- Achieving a BHAG goal requires mental toughness and a strong commitment to your goal. There were times when wanted to quit. That quiet little voice inside my head was telling me, I had bitten off more than I can could chew and that I needed to stop. My body ached and my muscles were sore. While running my last leg, 4 plus miles up hill in the Oregon coastal mountain range at around 3:30AM, I had to dig in and push myself towards my goal like I never have before. My commitment to completing the race is what kept pushing me forward. I thought of the pain in my body and I thought of the pain of not completing my leg and quitting the race. The pain of the latter was more than I was willing to bear and would last far longer than the physical pain I was going through early that morning.
- Having a shared vision and supportive team was essential to the team's overall success. My team was made up of administrative staff, small business owners, executive coaches, and sales professionals. Each of us knew the vision of the team and made sure we encouraged each other along the way. Whether it was an encouraging word, a bottle of water, or a slap on the butt, knowing that you had your team by your side was essential to each of us completing our individual legs and the entire race. I could not have asked for a better group of people to share this experience with.
- I learned that my natural inclination is to quit when facing very difficult challenges. This is something that is difficult to write because it goes against everything I've ever imagined about how I would react. This natural inclination is obviously a protective inclination that we've been given to protect us from danger. However, if we always succumb to that inclination I don't think we could ever achieve a true BHAG goal. I guess I always thought I would naturally be able to stand up to adversity and challenge. This past week I learned I could not do that on my own and that I had to fight the temptation to quit, and if I did not have my team and support at home, I probably would have given up.