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In less than a week I will run my 12th marathon.  This one is a little different than the rest of them though.  I was “pressured” into signing up for The Disney Dopey Challenge which involves running three additional races in the days leading up to the full marathon.  Marathons are hard enough.  They hurt.  They require determination and commitment to a lot of training.  Why in the heck then would I sign up for something as “dopey” as this 4-race monster?  Peer pressure!  Yep, even us “old” people can and will succumb to peer pressure.  In-fact, I welcome appropriate and healthy peer pressure.  We all need it to maximize our lives and by accepting this challenge I learned three distinct lessons over the course of my “dopey” training:

  • Big goals require big action

When you set a big goal, that’s the easy part.  Doing the work required to reach it is what’s hard and requires commitment, creativity and risk.  Nothing big and intentional happens without some mix of these three things.

  • Relationships are vital for the journey

If you think about the pursuit of a big goal as a journey, it’s the people you surround yourself with that make the journey interesting, challenging and fruitful.  The pursuit of a big goal with others is a reward in and of itself. 

  • The pursuit will involve setbacks

I have been excited about this event for the past several months.  Not just for myself, but for several team members that decided to run this marathon.  We have envisioned an emotional and happy finish line.  Unfortunately, some of them have had injuries or illness that have made reaching the finish line impossible or unwise.  This has been painful not just physically but emotionally.  When you go after a big goal and realize it is out of reach it affects you.  Life is like that, we pursue getting to a new place and sometimes it just doesn’t work out.  But we can learn from the setbacks and grow stronger.  The journey itself stretches our capacity for the next time and is worth it even if we don’t see the finish line.

Pursing something big will change you.  What’s your “dopey” goal for 2015?