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Life Lessons - 127 Miles Later!

For those who don’t know,  my girlfriend, best friend and I recently completed a 127 mile trek from Liverpool to Leeds for our chosen charities. This was done over 4 days, which averaged out at 32 miles per day! I ran the route in aid for St Gemma’s Hospice (where my mother passed away 10 years ago), my Girlfriend Lena Hughes cycled in aid of St Catherine’s Hospice (Where her father passed away 5 years ago) and my friend Sam Gibson ran in aid of the Alzheimer’s Society (Who is currently caring for his Grandmother).

Although this was a personal event, we all took a lot from the journey which can be related to work life and business in general, therefore I wanted to share some insight and hopefully inspire others to do the same.

1. Have a Cause – Find your Motivation & Value


There was naturally a clear driver for me to first of all think of the challenge, let alone do it! After all, not many people would want to run for 32 miles a day for 4 days…

Relatable to work, there must always be a cause, a motivation to get up and go to the office in the morning and the feeling like your work has value. That cause, motivation and sense of value is intrinsic and specific to you; therefore my advice would be to think about what truly motivates you, what feels rewarding and what you feel value is… then do it!

This could be looking at a specific job, elements what you can get from your current job or setting personal and professional goals and then smashing through them.

As my cause was clear (to me), I was motivated to keep going each day, even after doing a marathon and still having 8 miles to go on the first day. As I was committed to the cause, I was able to very slowly lower myself into a freezing ice bath each evening! As I saw value in the charity, I was able to jump out of bed each morning at the prospect of running another 32 miles on very sore legs. I can guarantee that without the legacy of my Mother at stake and knowing how much I’d raised for St Gemma’s Hospice and the difference the money would make to them, I doubt how successful my part in the trek would have been… but, as this was MY cause, MY motivation and where I saw value, nothing was going to stop me on our quest.

 

2. Collaboration v Independence

The mileage per day was split into the following:

  • Day 1: 32 miles
  • Day 2: 41 miles
  • Day 3: 26 miles
  • Day 4: 29 miles

After running for 40 miles on the 2nd day, Sam badly buckled his knee and we struggled on for the final mile until we reached the hotel. The next morning we tested his knee with a light jog and he’d completely lost the ability to run… we thought it was over!

Me and Lena could have chosen to continue running/cycling the trek and leave Sam behind, but this never crossed our mind as it wasn’t the reason for the campaign. It wasn’t about personal gain or achievement, this was about remembering those special people in our lives and raising money to support those charities so close to us. This challenge was bigger than us and not about the glory.

We couldn’t have imagined leaving Sam behind, so we treated his knee and began a low-impact, fast walk to continue with the 3rd day. This was a challenge of endurance, fighting to keep spirits high and pushing onward through the hours of pain still ahead of us… This continued not only for the 3rd day, but also for the 4th day. That feeling and sense of achievement at the final stretch was huge and far more emotional that we could have imagined. The sense that we’d done it together, appreciated and understood each other’s stories and encouraged each other through one of the hardest physical challenges of our lives was incredible.

I can guarantee if the team would have split up at the beginning of the 3rd day, that feeling at the homestretch would be numb and regretful. Due to the fact we’d left a teammate behind and that he hadn’t got to experience the finish… it would have ruined it for all of us.

I believe this lesson relates to work life from a team player and leadership standpoint. As a leader, your purpose is to build people up and encourage them on their way to achieving great things, not leaving people behind for your own self-worth. You must treat people as you wish to be treated… I can guarantee Sam wouldn’t leave me and Lena behind, as I know his character. There is no ‘I’ in ‘TEAM’.

 

3. Believe in yourself

People ask me if the challenge was harder than I expected, but honestly, I didn’t know what to expect. My only mindset was:

“Sure it will be difficult, but there is no way that I’m not completing it!”

There are many role models out there who preach that your mindset will dictate how far you go in life and I believe them!

“You can achieve only what you believe you can achieve”

If you believe you will get there, you will get there. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise and make a point of proving people wrong. People will always doubt your abilities, make sure you’re not one of them!

A big thank you goes out to the amazing support we had a long the way. The generosity has been amazing and is something we’re incredibly proud of. Hopefully we’ve inspired a few people to find their cause…

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