Do you run into people during your daily travels that seem to always use the word can’t? Does it seem as if they are unable to accomplish tasks in their life because they use the word can’t before each action? I have been thinking a lot lately about this and how to engage others in what is more than a marathon. This running/triathlon/endurance sport idea is more than just a race or distance. It is a lifestyle. Changing people's lives is not easy especially when they are 'set' in their ways.
Type A people think that we just go forward and it can be done...anything can be done. Most people don't think that way though. They need to be led and shown why it is good for them. The question I keep coming back to is how do you show them? I am running a campaign on Facebook that is targeted to our main group here in the North Dallas area. I have posted on LinkedIn and Twitter about the program and because I am convinced that it can be done I want others to be convinced, but does it happen that fast? See an ad for running a marathon, click on it and join? Obviously not. Marketing experts will tell you it takes seven points of touch before somebody takes an action. So I will keep doing what I am doing in sending out press releases, Facebook ad campaigns, LinkedIn, etc to get to those seven points, but how do you get the message across that this lifestyle is FUN?
I love to race and being competitive is in my blood. I love to train and exercise. I love the choices I get to make regarding my diet on a daily basis. It is 'easy' for me to choose a spinach salad over a penne vodka dish. I used to think that the waiters or waitresses would think to themselves, "what is this guy ordering?" but then I thought to myself that it is their issue and not mine. The problem with that thought process is that those are the exact people I want to work with and help. Help them make healthier choices, but doing so could take all day because of how passionate I am about living a healthy lifestyle. The one issue I face is that it is not just running, but it involves so much more. There is the exercise and diet but also the rest and recovery. Endurance sports typically leads to an all around healthier life - not just physically.
I hear all the time from family and friends that I can't do that. I can't run a mile or my favorite: the only 13.1 miles I'm covering is in my car. We have all heard it before and for me it is somewhat maddening. I started running by doing a 1/4 mile walk, then 1/4 mile jog, then 1/4 mile walk, then 1/4 mile jog and be done. Fifteen minutes give or take for a week like that. Then I moved up to another distance...two miles. And it kept growing but I didn't come into this world running a marathon. For me the word can't is a total conversation ender. Once you use that word then it doesn't matter why because you have shut down. My step son says I can't carry this or I can't carry that. I tell him fine leave it on the floor then and somebody who can will pick it up and carry it. I want to get him out of the mindset before it even starts.
I don't look at the world as a world of not possible. I see the world in a way that leads me to believe that anything is possible. It is a positive mindset that I have chosen and feel it benefits me. If something truly cannot be done then it had better be because I tried and tried and tried and was unsuccessful, and not because I just looked at the project as too daunting.
When I was in Mississippi awhile back, we did some video shooting for the website about what running, marathons and Marathon Makeover mean to us. My story is not unlike a lot of folks out there who got started in endurance sports and have let it carry them forward. Each person in the interview described how there was a trigger. A bad relationship, poor eating decisions or a number of other queues but in the end it was something that made them move. You cannot force a person to move - they have to choose to move on their own but once that decision is made the phrase 'cannot' must be removed from your vocabulary. You are now a doer and doers ignore cannot signs.
Running and training for a marathon or half-Ironman or Ironman is fun. You can see changes in your personality, changes in your work product, changes in your family and friends as they catch the bug from you. You become an inspiration to others and will help them become a more well-rounded person leading a well balanced life.
Tell them it's possible and they just need to change their mind for this one obstacle. Once they see that they can do it they will think to themselves is there anything I could not accomplish and now can. It is amazing to see the mindset of a person change.
Change is difficult but this is one that we can all make. You will be better for it in the long run. It won’t be easy but once you set that goal and achieve it all other things will fall into place and the term can’t or word cannot will no longer be in your vocabulary.
Jason Bahamundi is a husband and step-father first and foremost. He is a marketing executive by day, and also a marathoner and an aspiring triathlete. Jason started his marathon journey in 2007 by walking 1/4 mile and jogging 1/4 mile and did that until he reached one mile and went home. The next day he did it again. One week later he pushed it to two miles and it kept on growing from there. He became part of a running group where he began to get in shape and ultimately made lasting relationships. Since those days in 2007 Jason has finished multiple endurance events, including the San Antonio Rock 'n Roll Marathon. Jason brings an unbridled passion for healthy living and always smiles regardless of the situation. He tells his friends and family to smile because it will help their outlook on the day, and he has used that technique during training and racing. He is the Team Leader of Marathon Makeover - North Dallas and writes the blog Life of An Aspiring Triathlete.