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Stew in Uncomfortability

A Friday throwback post from the summer of 2009.

The first time I can truly say I stretched my limits is when I trained for the NYC Marathon in the fall of 2002 with one of my best friends from Edmonton. We took what traditionally is a four to six-month training window and cut it down to three so we could hit the Nov 2nd competition date. There is something about the unknown, fear of failing, that drives you. Unsure if you will be able to complete the goal and in a measure of time that lives up to your standards. 

It was hard work! Six runs per week, three hour runs on Sunday afternoon, and when adding in post-recovery time (stretching, soaking, eating, nap), it turned into an all-day event that finished with an early bedtime. We had hilarious side stories and lots of learning that developed through the challenges overcome.

The next challenge for me was a move from Edmonton, AB (the prairies) to Toronto, ON (the big urban city) the following year. I was inspired by a friend who had done this move a few years earlier. We had worked together at Xerox and he had started his own business in Toronto. In Jason’s words “you need to get out of your comfort zone, every once in a while. Every time, I feel too comfortable in life, its time for a major change.” Good advice. So today after living in Toronto for six and a half years, Toronto is home and I feel very “comfortable” here. 

It was time for a new challenge in 2009….Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. 

My point is this. Individually you need to be aware of your strengths, your limits and when its time to truly stretch your abilities, and “stew in uncomfortability” (yes I made up this word…ha) and dance with your fears. We tend to learn most from our mistakes and in times that pitch us into deep physical and mental challenge, excruciating grief and personal despair. Call it raising your own standards and of those in your immediate circle of influence (colleagues, friends, loved ones). 

It’s amazing how the motivation, support, and energy provided by many can collectively bring you back to life or raise the expectations of you and your circle of influence. What can you challenge a peer of yours to join you in, or what you can individually take on that the rest of your group can hold you accountable to? It need not be physical (although I find those very rewarding). 

How about a personal project, philanthropy, mentoring or supporting someone when they need it most?

By the way, Kevin and I accomplished and surpassed our goal in the Marathon and also did in Africa (different measurements).

It’s funny how you can always inch past that line in the sand when you need to.

Lastly, what do you do, when you complete one big challenge…tee up another one! Mine is already in the research stage…stay tuned!


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