As you may know, I am a volunteer run leader. Twice a year I take groups of absolute beginner runners.
After 9 weeks they graduate and run their first 5k at my local parkrun. The graduation 5k run is always very special because lots of my fellow running club members (Petts Wood Runners since you’re asking) turn up to cheer on our graduates.
Could you climb Mount Everest on Tuesday?
The graduates are always delighted to finish the course. They are amazed that they are able to run 30 minutes non-stop. It seems an impossible challenge at the start. However they are surrounded by people who believe in them. It’s contagious, this belief in you. In the first week, we run for one minute and walk for five minutes. We do that five times so a total of 30 minutes run/walk. Each week the run time goes up and the walk time goes down.
At the first session, running for a whole minute is an incredible achievement. Many beginners don’t believe they can do it. If they look ahead and think about running a 5k non-stop, well quite honestly that seems like a crazy impossible dream, as realistic as you climbing Mount Everest on Tuesday. (unless you happen to be a mountaineer who just spent the last few months training and you just arrived at base camp)
Sometimes our belief is not as strong as their lack of belief
And yet …. EVERY course the beginners graduate and run 30 minutes (and more) non-stop at the graduation 5k parkrun. Some beginners fall by the wayside because of sickness or injury or life gets in the way. Sometimes, perhaps, our belief in them is not as strong as their lack of belief in themselves.
I wish I could bottle and capture that incredible mixture of happiness, pride and amazement that they feel at the finish. And actually, the pride and joy that I feel too. It’s amazing.
We know they can do it.
Every week we encourage, cheer, persuade and cajole our runners to keep going. They tell us that what really keeps them going is that we believe they can do it.
In fact, it’s more powerful than ‘we believe’ they can do it. We know they can do it. They start to believe they can do it too. That is so important – in life, at work, in business or in sport. Surround yourself with people who believe in you; who believe you CAN do it. On the running course, we set small goals each week. We tell them what to expect and when it will feel hard. And that we know they can do it.
When the magic happens
Half way through every course, something fabulous, something magic happens. The runners start to believe that 5k IS achievable. They are starting to notice the benefits of exercising three times a week. They have more energy, they are sleeping better, they feel healthier, their stress levels are going down, they are snacking less, and they are walking taller because they have more self-confidence.
The reason I’m sharing this story with you is because when you set out on a challenge such as starting a business or going back to work or developing a more healthy lifestyle, it can seem daunting and self-doubts creep in. When you are surrounded by negative people or non-believers, those self-doubts flourish. You lose confidence and you lose faith in yourself.
Surround yourself with positive people
When you surround yourself with positive people who believe in you, and what you can do, the difference in your confidence, your decision-making, your creativity and your self-belief is incredible and that gives you a different energy. People are attracted to you because you radiate energy and confidence. They believe in you too.
Sometimes the most powerful belief in you is from people outside your close friends and family. Your friends and family want you to succeed and to be happy however they also want to protect you. They don’t want you to get hurt or to take unnecessary risks. Sometimes that can hold you back … you may sense their lack of belief or feel a lack of support. If that’s you, find others who do believe in you. Who will accept your vision without question. Who will support you, encourage you and remind you to keep going when the going gets tough. Surround yourself with people who believe in you, whether that’s online or in real life.
Last night was the final piece
After graduation, we encourage our beginner groups to join the running club and start running in our regular groups on a Tuesday, Thursday or Sunday. Some join, some don’t. Once they start running with us regularly, we encourage them to enter races … just last week one of our Spring beginners completed her first 10k.
When they start to enter races, the final piece is for them to represent our running club at a mob match. Oh my goodness, was I bursting with pride last night when I marshalled at my club’s mob match (racing against 2 other local running clubs). I lost count of how many of my’ beginners were competing on behalf of ‘our’ club. Absolute proof that when you surround yourself with people who believe in you, you CAN do anything. Even climb Mount Everest on Tuesday.