I did it. I’m officially a 2018 London marathon finisher!
For five years, I’ve been on the sidelines of this amazing event, supporting the runners, both friends and strangers. I always found it incredibly emotional watching the strain, struggle and focus on their faces and to be part of the crowd shouting and cheering to spur them on to keep putting one foot in front of the other to the finish line. Each year, inspired, I’d think to myself “I’d love to run the London marathon” but the thought that instantly followed that was “you don’t have the discipline to train for it”. And I believed that thought. So I would put the idea out of my mind until the event came around the next year and again I’d think “I’d love to run the London marathon” and then the thought that I don’t have the discipline would pop up again.
Last August, after five years of thinking about it, I got the opportunity to run for Variety, the Children’s Charity, so I took it and the gruelling training regime over the winter months ensued. It wasn’t easy but each training day, no matter what I was thinking or feeling, I’d put my runners on and hit the road. Months past but before I knew it, Sunday 22nd April had come and gone and it’s all now a part of my history — and what an incredible experience! What an event to be part of! 40,000 runners, side by side, all with one thing in common — they’ve all put in the blood, sweat and tears to get to the finish line. Thousands of strangers lined the 26.2 mile course, on the hottest day recorded in the London marathon history, to cheer us on. Brass bands were playing throughout, little kids holding out oranges and jelly babies for energy boosts. I’ve never experienced anything like it and I might not have, had I listened to my thinking that I didn’t have the discipline. A thought that was based on no circumstantial evidence, no facts, it just appeared out of the blue, again and again.
So often in my one to one catch ups with clients I’m pointing them in the direction of how their thinking works and just as important, how it doesn’t work. That some thoughts they have, whilst they believe them, are just not true, never have been and never will be. They are a construct, a perception, an idea or belief, that limits their potential and stops them from taking an action. Whether it’s a leader that doesn’t think public speaking is their strength, a sales team that thinks they’re challenged because their product isn’t the strongest on the market, the “don’t have enough time/financial resources/experience” thinking or “I’m not creative, I don’t come from the right background…” These thoughts are subtle and they can be debilitating.
My conversation is never to try and change their thinking; it isn’t a ‘turn that frown upside-down’ positive thinking psychology. I certainly didn’t stare in front of the mirror for hours on end telling myself that I did have the discipline and the motivation to run a marathon! I share with them how thought intelligence works so they can acknowledge the thought and then do ‘that thing’, whatever it is, anyway. I heard the small voice in my head say I’m not disciplined, ignored it and put my application form in to Variety to run. Then, on the training days where the thought popped into my head again, I ignored it, got into my running kit and stepped outside. Continuing to take the next small step each day was what got me to the finish line.
Sometimes we think we have to have the whole process mapped out before we embark on a goal when in reality, all we need to do is just take the first step and then the next one. It’s like driving a car at night with your headlights on. You only need to see the road that’s immediately in front of you and you can make the whole journey that way.