Our careers are like running a marathon. Yet many people think they are in a sprint.
I ran the New York City Marathon a few years back. It was my first race of any distance. When the topic of running came up among friends, I was the typical person who would blurt out, "I have never run a single mile. I am not a runner." Somehow I had that notion in my head for a long time. I had a lot to learn about myself.
Recently I read an amazing book called, Eat and Run, by Scott Jurek. Scott runs ultra-marathons. To put that into perspective, a marathon is 26.2 miles and ultra-marathons are races over 50 miles. He has become an icon in the running world, having won the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run seven times, the Spartathlon 152 mile race in Greece three times and ran the farthest of any North American runner in 24 hours, a mind blowing 164 miles. His list of records and victories are as long as an ultra itself.
Scott's stories of endurance, pain, injury, loss, fear, success and victory are truly inspiring. Perhaps what comes through his story is even more than inspiration; it is a deeper truth. Finding your own limits, pushing yourself to your own edge and then pushing even further is possible.
Working with many people over the years, I have found that the most successful people are long distance people. I have seen plenty of sprinters hit short-term milestones only to be washed out by the endurance of the routine. The folks who stick with it end up winning. We all have short-term projects that are sprints, and we need to win at those, but the ability to continue in the routine is a thing of greatness.
I have a lot of sprinting in me. Some have described me as impatient. Yet over time, I have learned the tremendous advantage of endurance. When training for the NYC Marathon, I learned that I could run a mile, and then three, and then 10, 18 and on race day, 26.2 miles. In my work I have learned that same sort of personal development. We can go further than we think we can. We can reach our limit, and then just keep on going.
I'd like to encourage you today. Keep at it. Whatever it is that is wearing you down, you are bigger than it. You have more in you. One foot in front of the other. Success comes to those who keep going when others quit. You can do it!