Standing at the finish of the Sporting Life 10K this morning, watching several thousand of the estimated 23,000 runners cross the line, it was hard not to notice the differences among them. Some crossed the line in focused sprints, putting all of their remaining energy toward the goal of finishing with their best time, while others slowed and even ran backwards to smile and wave to friends, family and video cameras. Several ran in costume, dressed like Bay Street bankers, Smurfs and even as a banana, but most wore workout clothes of every colour imaginable. One woman pumped her arms so intensely that it looked as though that action was what powered her legs. Some people bounced with every stride, some loped and some plodded, but all ran and all looked satisfied with themselves just for finishing, especially wearing the medals they received after crossing the line.
Watching all of those different people accomplish their goal of running 10 km was inspiring and highlighted the realization that we can all do almost anything, but only when we set our intention. The strength and the power to achieve our goals exists within us. They are qualities innate to every human being, and we can access them at any time. However, fears, doubts, and painful life histories can all interfere by convincing us that we are weak, that we will fail, and that we shouldn’t even bother trying. Setting an intention to do something difficult doesn’t mean putting on rose coloured glasses and thinking only positive thoughts. Instead, it emphasizes thinking realistically, accepting that yes, we will face difficult challenges along the way, and yes, we will fail at those challenges some of the time; but if we believe that maybe we can do it and we keep working at it, then we can tap into those internal resources and get where we want to be in life.
Congratulations to all who ran today and to everyone who tried something difficult even when they weren’t certain they would succeed at it in the end.