Who invented the sound of alarm clocks? I don’t know about you but I have yet to find a sound that just brings a smile to my sleepy face and makes me want to get up and dance.
It’s 4:15am and my alarm is going off – I hit snooze just to wiggle in a few extra minutes of sleep, wishing it was a few more hours. But with all the force in me, I will myself out of bed. Feet on the floor. Lace up my shoes and grab my gym bag to head to the YMCA for a morning swim.
There is nothing glamorous at this moment. One foot in front of the other… swim one lap and then another. For an hour and a half. This is what it looks like to train for an Ironman race. Just about every day for nearly six months.
It’s a funny story of how I even got into doing triathlons – about 8 years ago my wife planned a charity 5K and made sure I was signed up because she needed all the support. I was glad to help her but didn’t run regularly. So after running 3 miles in the dead heat of a June race, I was both exhausted and in love with the finish line feeling.
Over the next handful of years, I started doing more races, longer ones, and eventually triathlons. But my motivation was that glorious feeling of crossing the finish line. That was my desire. My sights were set on that as the end-all goal.
When I registered for my first Ironman Race – 2.4 mile swim, 112 bike ride and 26.2 mile run (a whole marathon at the end!) and suddenly wondered if I might have bitten off more than I could chew, a friend spoke the most enlightening words to me: “enjoy the starting line, you earned it.”
I was so busy pushing past everything with eyes on the finish line, I didn’t see the glory of doing the hard work to get to the starting line. Every action was building to that moment. All my intentionality was earning me a starting line. My perspective changed and so did my motivation to wake up each morning with new determination.
We all have a starting line before us.
Maybe it’s the book in your heart that you’ve wanted to write but just tinker on your computer, or the idea of volunteering that you’ve been meaning to place the phone call and start. Perhaps you’ve wanted to take on the role of a mentor but need to make the time on your calendar to begin.
These moments are small decisions, yet hold powerful potential. There aren’t crowds of people cheering and lights flashing – but they are where dreams are birthed into action. There are no overnight successes, just people who are determined to make a difference, courageously follow the dreams in their heart and set their morning alarm clock.
So wake up my friend, the world needs you to shine brightly.
Executive Director of Loveworks Leadership