What Can You Accomplish if You Try?

every accomplishment“Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try.” I love this quote by Gail Devers, a three-time Olympic champion in track and field. This statement perfectly points out that, in order to achieve something, you must believe in yourself, and you must decide to give it a shot. Once you start, your vision, your hard work, your determination, and your dedication will actually get you there. If you want to enjoy success, you just have to make that first decision to try!

Last May, I ran what I thought was my first and last race—the Denver Colfax Marathon. A colleague of mine told me that this would not be my last race and that I would soon want to race again. He was so right! This year, I found myself tackling an even more daunting challenge—running the Moab Red Hot 33K. This is an extreme trail race across the Moab that requires runners to traverse dirt, sand, and rock. Although the distance wasn’t as long as a marathon, the physical toll it took on my body far exceeded what I experienced during my marathon last year.

During my marathon, I ran on even pavement, so I was able to get into a good rhythm and hammer out the 26.2 miles. This race was a whole different beast. The ground conditions were continuously changing—one minute I was slugging through sand or climbing boulders, and the next I was running at awkward angles or even hopping from rock to rock. This race pounded my body from start to finish!

There was a point during the race, when I had about five miles left, that took me to my limit. My cardiovascular endurance was fine—but my legs were so sore that I could not get any relief, regardless of whether I walked or ran. I decided I might as well run and just get the whole thing over with! This tortoise was slow, but I stuck with it and finished in four and half hours.

Have you ever pushed yourself to your limit? If not, you will never know where your limits are. Here’s one thing I learned about myself the day I took on the Moab Red Hot: I have to take risks in order to find my limits, and, many times, I will be able to push past my limits and accomplish things I didn’t know were possible.

Have you been afraid to take on a challenging assignment at work, put your name in the hat for the promotion you’ve always wanted, tackle that fitness goal you’ve dreamed of achieving, or conquer that one BHAG (big, hairy, audacious goal) that’s eluded you? Too often, fear stops us dead in our tracks. Too often, we succumb to negative thinking that takes our dreams and turns them into 101 reasons why we really don’t want to do the thing we aspire to.

Don’t wait until everything is just right. Conditions will never be perfect. There will always be challenges, obstacles, and less-than-perfect circumstances. Just take the bull by the horns and get started! With each step you take, you will grow stronger and more skilled, gaining self-confidence and success as you go.

Every time you try to do something, you give yourself a chance: a chance to succeed.

Remember this: as our birthdays pile up and we see our days on this earth coming to an end, we either feel the pressure of our dreams yet to be accomplished (and do something about it!), or we surrender to feelings of desolation.

Fortunately, living our dreams is still within our reach and easier than we think, for all we have to do is make the decision to try. Once you take that first step, your dream becomes less of a dream and begins to morph into reality. The moment you try, you entertain the chance of succeeding and accomplishing your goal.

Do you have a goal?

What have you done to work toward achieving it?

Have you tried to do something today?

“Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try!”

Regarding the Moab Red Hot 33K, I want to first thank my wife and kids for being my biggest fans and cheering me on. I also want to thank my Lifetime Fitness friends for taking part in my journey.

I would like to especially thank Sydney Cornell—my coach for this race. Sydney is an elite triathlete coach with an impressive resume that includes two top 20 finishes at the World Championships in Kona and a ranking in the top 5% of worldwide Ironman athletes for her age group in 2013. Sydney taught me so much about how to train, how to use nutrition to maximize performance, and how to coordinate cross training to ensure I would be prepared for the race. All the while, she encouraged me and believed in me. If you ever need a coach to help you reach an epic fitness goal—and you have the courage to make the decision to try—Sydney can help you. You too can learn from her what I did: “You are a lot better than you think you are, and you can do a lot more than you think you can!” If you would like more information on Sydney as a coach, you can contact her through her LinkedIn profile.

Lastly, I want to congratulate Watson Cornell, Sydney Cornell, Lydia Cornell Bourke, and Michael Groaning for finishing this grueling race! Nicely done, team!

sean trail run2



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