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You can do it.! - The Unstoppable Series

The Unstoppable Series inspiring leaders to be role models and to nurture their teams.

I love to run, I run almost every day. I am a long distance runner and my family frequently tease me by shouting out “Run Forest Run”. I ran my first marathon in 2005 in Edinburgh, Scotland. I was living in London at the time and I wanted to raise money for my dad who has Parkinsons and who needed brain surgery called Deep Brain Stimulation. I was super determined to raise the money and to successfully complete the marathon.

To enable my training programme, I bought a NIKE running watch, it didn’t have GPS, this was common for running watches at the time. It measured average steps and before using it, the watch was meant to be calibrated to your running stride, but I was so excited to use my new toy that I didn’t bother with this set up process and I went straight out for a run with my watch. I trained for 6months using my watch targeting a 4hour marathon speed.

On race day, I was excited and ready to set off on my first marathon. 5 Km in, I knew something was wrong, when the race markers didn’t align with my watch. With horror I realised that my watch was 20% off which meant that for 6months instead of training at a 4hr marathon time, I was actually training at a 5hr marathon time. I was devastated. My initial thought was, all that hard work for nothing. I was not going to be happy with a 5hr finishing time. So, in that split second, I made the decision to ignore my watch and just run as fast as I could, until I reached the finish line.

So I did just that and I completed my first marathon in 3hrs45minutes which was 1hr15mins quicker than my training time and 15mins better than my target time. My legs were so sore that when I reached the finish line I refused to walk one single step further and I called a taxi and insisted he come find me and pick me up!

I learnt that day that I am capable of so much more than I think. I learnt that when I think I am working at full capacity that I am not. I have much more in the tank than I realise. I learnt the path to achievement starts with the unknown and feeling overwhelmed and uncomfortable.

So now I try to take this lesson and apply it into my daily routine, It is hard to stay motivated on a daily basis. I feel it, my teams feel it. Delivering change, transforming businesses can be tough, I like to remind myself of the this story and tell myself, I still have more left in the tank!! I dare to think bigger and better and remind myself, if I am feeling uncomfortable then I am probably in the right place to achieve.

The key to finishing big is to start small. Action and reflection are daily activities for my team and I. Remember baby steps lead to big places. I encourage my team to keep going, stay positive and help each other. We frequently doubt ourselves along the way, but if we support and guide each other we will reach the next stage.

And then, of course, it would be remiss of me to not point out the most obvious reflection about this story, i.e. RTM – READ THE MANUAL! A frustration that every IT technical support person must deal with on a daily basis!! And a skill that I should continue to work on!

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