I'm dedicating my blog this week to the love of my life. He won't know it and he'll probably never read this in fact he'd tell me off, but I want to tell you how proud I am of his recent achievement and dedication to a goal, no a real challenge, he set himself just before Christmas.
As a family we have experienced the heart breaking disease that is Alzheimer's. I won't say too much about it here, but needless to say it is a cruel disease for both the person suffering and the whole family. (To learn more click here) Well my hubby came up with a plan that he would run the Leeds Liverpool canal in aid of Alzheimer's Society. That stretch of the country holds memories for us as our early 'courtship' was in Bradford, and we have lived, holidayed and have friends all along that stretch of countryside. Ideal for what he wanted to call The Memory Run, 127.25 miles of gorgeous countryside and steeped in northern history. All good and well, except for the fact that my other half had never run a marathon, never mind five!
Mind made up, it was decided he would start training in January 2015. I insisted he got a personal trainer, a coach who knew what they were doing. He took on the services of the wonderful Jules Johnson, whose NLP methods were really important, particularly as it was getting closer to the Big week. (Plus I was delighted when she convinced him of the merits of brown rice and pasta, a feat I hadn't achieved in our 24 years together!)
He has had to dig deep several times throughout this 6 months, but especially this week and lucky for him he has a great coach carrying his bags, mopping his brow, massaging his legs and giving him all the motivation he needs to see this through. (That's me if you were wondering. LOL)
I couldn't be prouder. I want to share a few of the things I learnt from him in the last 3 months about commitment, focus and perseverance.
If you have something you want to achieve whether it being setting up your own business, learning a new skill, reorganising your home, starting a weight loss or exercise plan ask yourself if you really want it because there will be times there is resistance to change. There will be moments when it feels too hard. There will be times when you feel you don't have the time and you have to sacrifice something else. So, I ask you this, 'Have you got what it takes? Do you want it enough? Is it worth a bit of pain now? Can you see it through to the end? Can you make the journey pleasurable?'
Here are some tips to help you get started and support you when you need to push through:
1. Know why you want the end result and what support you might need from the start.
His loveliness got Jules on board because he needed help working out a training plan and to ensure his nutrition was appropriate for the massive amount of exercise he was going to undertake. This investment of a sports' coach helped Simon so much as she knew what he had to do to build up his strength and stamina. She supported him in signposting food that was going to nourish him and build him up. She encouraged and rallied him when he needed it and when she wasn't there I was, daily, to make sure he got the food he needed and had a bath ready when he came home. A pep talk on mornings when it felt too much. Little things, but they helped.
We also had a great support team who looked after the girls during the week away. Friends and family who came and cheered him on at the end of the first day and others at the end, you guys know who you are and we love you. Half of his office turned up to celebrate with him, which meant so much to us.
If you are starting out on a big goal who is your support team going to be? Family, friends, a mentor, a coach? Make sure you've got the help you need, so you have the best start possible.
2. Consistent action is crucial to success.
This ability to run these marathons hasn't happened overnight. Every week since January he has put himself out on the road, the canal, the beach, the woods for hours and hours at a time. A lot of the time he has enjoyed it. He loves running. He loves running alone. The solitude. the time to think. He has a demanding role in work and it's a great way for him to manage his mind set, but this has been another level. This has needed endurance, persistence and commitment through consistent action taking. What has been great watching this, as a coach, is that the principles I promote to my clients have been in action weekly, in that he has built up from running 7 to 8 miles 3/4 times a week to being able to run a weekend of 24, 25,22 miles and then do a few 10 miles in the week!! Small steps forward consistently do take you to the end goal, which for him was the 5 days of sheer determination on the canal path.
3. Be flexible
It's not all been plain sailing. He did have a few weeks where his body wasn't having any of it and small hiccups, such as tendinitis and an eye infection, meant that he had to reorganise how he trained, or let his body rest, without derailing him from the bigger plan. It was at these points I witnessed the biggest mental battles. It would have been easy to give up and say, 'Oh well I tried but I'm mid 40's my body is too old for this.' Or, 'Well I've had to have a week off now so there's no point trying to go in June because I'm off the programme I set out.'
But he didn't. By being flexible and pushing through these thoughts with more solution focused thinking. 'What do I need to do now I've had to rest for a week?' 'What support can I get from my coach/family to get me back on track?'
You can and should apply this to anything. It builds emotional resilience. It allows us to adapt to change and adversity easily. So if it is in life, business or some extreme pursuit like this, being flexible is critical to success. The path can be winding, and have dead ends, the trick is enjoying the journey.
4. What will success look and feel like?
Success for my husband was two-fold. There is the obvious. The fact he conquered such an extreme physical and mental achievement. He took his body and his mind to places they had never been before and challenged himself in a way he'd never done in the past. He can be proud for all the reasons above.
However, his greatest success has been raising awareness of the Alzheimer's Society and what they do. His greatest success has been smashing his original target of £2000.00 and raising well over £3000 (I'll update in comments when he calculates the final tally)
His sense of pride in doing his bit to help families affected by such a cruel and heart breaking disease is immeasurable. Our pride, as a family, in what he has done knows no bounds. Simon's greatest success, and it always has been, is his strong sense of community and helping others. If he had walked the last two days it would have still been a success in our eyes, because he put himself out there. He worked hard for months and he did it for others.
Success comes in many shapes and forms. I knew this before, but this illustrated it beautifully.
5. If there is a will there is a way.
I think we lie to ourselves a lot. I think we hide behind excuses and fear and other people's demands on our time. If we really want something we can make it happen. If we really want something to change in our life, or want to achieve something, we can do it. We just need to apply the practices above and do it. Sometimes it'll feel hard and sometimes it'll feel easy, but to not do it. To not feel good about every day knowing you are living a life full of opportunity and contentment, that you are doing what you can do, is to waste your life. When people are diagnosed with Alzheimer's they feel robbed of all the things they could have done.
What do you want for you? What big or little dream do you have that you want to come true? What the flippin' heck are you waiting for? The time is now. Just start.
If you'd like to sponsor Simon please donate here.