Never Give Up
In 1982, just 15 feet short of the finish line, triathlete Julie Moss collapsed, following to the pavement in utter exhaustion. In her first IRONMAN triathlon, the world championship no less, she was ahead of all other female competitors; she was winning the race!!! But, just short of the finish line, she could go no further. Moss fell in front of the cameras in what would become one of the most iconic moments in all of sports as her race did not end there. She reached out with her hands and began to crawl, dragging her body until she crossed the finish line. While Moss was passed by fellow competitor Kathleen McCartney, she finished the race, came in second, and earned her college diploma. Moss was only 23 at the time and had entered the race as her senior research project, which she needed to complete to receive her degree. For her, there was more than just winning the race:
“Then that inner voice said, ‘just crawl!’ That forward movement showed me the meaning of being victorious. It wasn’t about beating someone, it was about finishing.” – Julie Moss, Ironman vet Julie Moss recounts her 1982 ‘Crawl of Fame’ in new memoir, The San Diego Union-Tribune, October 2, 2018.
The IRONMAN triathlon is a 2.4-mile swim followed by a 112-mile bike ride and a marathon – a 26.2-mile run! It not only taxes the body, as we know from Moss’ story, it also taxes the mind! As an IRONMAN, I know the wide range of thoughts which can come up throughout the race, either being motivating and uplifting, or urging one to stop, give up, and not go on. When thoughts of the latter nature come up, just as in all aspects of life, we have a choice. We can let them take hold and fall short, or, we can embrace that they came up, know we ARE capable of moving past them, and MOVE past them by embracing the thoughts that do lift us up! Moss is a prime example of what IS possible and in OUR control!
To Read about Moss’ race and story, please click here.
- If the Mind is Willing, the Body Will Follow! – Our minds are incredibly powerful! Even at our lowest of lows, it can drive us to get back up and move forward; or simply crawl just a bit further to our goal. The shear determination Moss showed is truly inspirational – doing whatever it took to get across the finish line! Absolute and utter proof that if the mind is willing, the body WILL follow! As Moss said, she was ready to just continue laying on the ground until the voice in her head told her to keep going! It was her mind that won out and pushed her body forward!
There’s truth to this for more than just sport. When our mind is willing, it fosters us with healthy and encouraging thoughts AND overcomes the non-serving thoughts which keep us down. Most importantly, it drives our physical actions, e.g., our behaviors, and IS in or control! We control our minds! The way we think, what we believe, and the encouragement we give ourselves ARE up to us! Embracing this notion WILL lead us to come out of this pandemic ahead because we know it IS possible to drive the results we want through our mindset.
- Reach for Something New & Meaningful – Moss was inspired to do an IRONMAN by watching the recap of the 1981 IRONMAN world championship. Even though she had never done a triathlon or run a marathon, she made the decision to do an IRONMAN. It was going to be a new experience and an experience which would go beyond what she had previously experienced in the endurance sport world. In other words, it would be an experience that prompted her to reach for something new. Moreover, it had meaning to her. Not only would it mean a lot to finish the race, it also would mean she fulfilled all of the requirements for graduating from college.
It is a natural human trait to like new things; new clothes, new phones, and new movies to name a few. Our goals are no different! We like reaching for something that is new and allows us to grow. We also like reaching for something that has meaning and purpose for us. It feels good to achieve something that has value for us and is a benefit to us. When we combine reaching for something new with the meaning achieving it will have for us, we are inherently motivated and take action which ENSURES we reach our goals! Moreover, right now, reaching for something new that has meaning for us will focus us on maximizing this time during the pandemic AND come out of it ahead of where we were!
- There’s More Than One Way to Win! – As Moss said, there was more to her race than just coming in first, there was finishing – a victory in and of itself. A very true statement that is not always embraced today. With sayings like “If you’re not first, you’re last,” it’s hard to see past winning as the only thing that matters. However, there is more than one way to win!
Victories come in all forms and finishing an IRONMAN triathlon certainly is one! The average finishing time for men and women pro triathletes fall within the 9 and 10-hour time frames, respectively. And that’s the professionals! For non-professionals, the average finishing time can range between 12 and 16 hours, plus change. To be able to put one hand in front of the other while swimming, then one foot in front of the other while biking and running, for hours upon hours IS an accomplishment. By doing so, we prove to ourselves that we are capable! A notion and victory that gets overshadowed if we are solely focused on winning, which also overshadows the time, dedication, and sacrifice spent training for the race!
Just as in IRONMAN, solely focusing on winning in life overshadows the other victories we create for ourselves. Completing a task we set out to do is an accomplishment in and of itself. Spending time learning how to do something we could not do before is an accomplishment in and of itself. And, setting new goals for ourselves which we once thought were impossible is an accomplishment in and of itself. These accomplishments ARE wins and are what WILL let us continue to achieve other victories in life besides the “one-time” victory winning a race creates for us. Right now, we are so focused on when and how we will come out of this pandemic that we forget about all the new skills we have picked up, the new goals we have created and achieved, and the way in which we ARE stronger! Celebrating these wins WILL help us come out of the pandemic ahead as it brings to light the strides we’ve already made!
Today, we tend to focus on the problems at hand, the hurdles we face, and the obstacles which stand in our way. A line of thinking which actually keeps us in a non-serving (negative) state. On the other hand, when we focus on what we want, what we desire, and what impact achieving our goals will have, we are kept in a serving (positive) state. One way which WILL shift our focus is finding what inspires us and keeping it ever-present with us. We can put a poster or picture on the wall, carry a saying with us, or even wake up to a piece of music, saying, or poem in the morning. The choices are truly endless! No matter what we choose, injecting what inspires us on a daily basis WILL shift our focus, and it WILL help us come out of this pandemic ahead as we’ll be focused on what serves us!
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