Warning: running references here.
This weekend is the London marathon (and no I am not running it, which will shock precisely no one).
This story about marathon runner Matthew Rees made headlines last year as he stopped running his race, just short of the finish line to help a fellow runner who was near collapsing – he carried his fellow runner across the finish line, finishing much later then he would have otherwise, just so this guy could finish his marathon.
I could not get this story out of my head when I read it and Matthew’s act led to him becoming a national treasure and this year he and his runner friend are completing the London marathon together. I know, it’s feel good to the max.
It made me think about the ONE time I ran a half-marathon (and likely only) and the mental and physical toil it takes on you. It’s a battle to get to the finish line. It made me think of how running is so similar to life – to the challenges that we face, the reason we even sign up to do such events in the first place, the reason we quit, the reason we keep going.
We are all in race. Whether it’s business like me, a career, a relationship, a ministry, there’s a specific race you have been called to. Something that pulls you to it, that urges you to keep going. And what I have learned so far is the reason we start is often not the reason we finish.
Here are 3 truths about your calling that will serve as a good reminder for you when you are running your race:
1. The pain you go through will give someone else freedom. We all hate discomfort (which is why running is such an ironic sport) – but the biggest challenges in my life have actually served to help people along the way. Little did I know the rejection that I faced personally (and even professionally), dealing with a bullying boss, managing crises, dealing with death at a young age, starting over.. these experiences weren’t about just making me tough. I walked this path so I could help other’s experience freedom in these areas and not go through them alone. And I have had mentors and coaches who have also used their pain and experience to give me freedom in other areas of my own life. While it doesn’t feel worth it at the time, just know your long road will eventually give someone else a shortcut.
2. The race will test (and build) your endurance. Wanna know when your faith gets real? When there are no cheerleaders around you to encourage you. My love language is ‘words of affirmation’ – I get strong from other’s compliments, I can soar on one compliment for days. But, I had to learn when I started my own business to encourage myself. Because people will only stick around for so long. Real faith starts when all the external forces that make you feel good are gone. When it’s just you, your faith and the One who made you.
3. Your are succeeding so you can serve. There is a reason why Matthew stopped to help out a fellow runner and literally pick him to finish the race. Because he was strong enough to. I’m sure there were plenty of other’s who saw the guy in needed and wanted to help but were just trying to survive themselves. You can’t help anyone when you are in survival mode. Part of your course is getting strong enough, training hard enough, so when the time comes, you can – and are willing to – help carry someone else across the finish line. He had the compassion and the skills in that moment to help someone achieve what he already had.
Me succeeding in business isn’t just about a number I want to hit, it’s about the impact I can have on others and how I can serve along the way. It’s about sharing my skills and experience with someone else who can benefit from it. But I can only help in areas I have succeeded in myself – so it’s my job to master it, to experience it – to FINISH it, so I can help other’s next time around.
To ‘endure’ means the ability to endure an unpleasant or difficult process or situation without giving way.
Keep going. Other’s success depends on it.
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