Let's call this a sequel to my blog on Adhering to the Process. As most of you are aware I just returned from Denver and a successful completion of my second half marathon. I have attached a few pictures from that event in the charity section of the website. The gentleman that ran with me is Rick Newsome who works with Kaiser in Denver and is a friend. Why was it successful and how does it relate to my favorite subject of transition? First, in my mind the term transition has expanded, it now includes both external and internal transition and both the gainfully employed and gainfully unemployed.
Now back to why my run was successful. First, I made a commitment I kept. Just like anyone going through transition, I stayed the course. Second, I stayed focused on incremental gain. I bettered my last time by approximately 4 to 5 minutes.
I had obstacles that came my way, but I did not quit or blame others. I dealt with and overcame them. Over the last month I developed runner's knee. This made running painful and impacted the frequency of my training, diminishing it considerably. I made the necessary adjustments, but my commitment to the end result never changed. No transition, on any level will ever go exactly to plan and one will have to make adjustments to ensure success rather than blame others for failure. I took responsibility for the injury and moved on. I did not look for excuses. The last two miles were grueling because I had not trained as much as I wanted to because of the injury. I felt like quitting and I know many others have felt the same way under similar situations. In the end I stuck it out and finished the race. What kept me going was that I remembered that feeling, that wonderful feeling, when you accomplish something challenging. On the other side of that, I didn't want to deal with waiting another year to finish the event. That's too long to suffer and deal with that shortfall. We all have these kinds of experiences in transition. We need to stay focused on that wonderful feeling we get when we reach that next opportunity and push on through the pain. Remembering the feeling can keep us going. I also remember someone saying to me, and I'm not sure who to give credit to, but it went like this: when you’re closest to a failure, you are also closest to success. I do believe that.
As I write this, I'm on a plane back to Atlanta from Denver. I'm tired and I'm in a little pain, but I feel good about staying the course. No, I did not injure myself permanently and I am not asking you to do that. There will be those times when staying the course will be impossible because the reward sought does not come close to the potential downside. At those times, one may have to save it for another day. But then I remember another little saying that I adhere to. You don't become a good sailor by sailing calm seas. So remember that wonderful feeling of success and, whenever possible, stay the course.