Inspired by a Champion

For many of us, the Olympics seem so surreal and so far away. But for my family, the London Olympics are very real indeed. Jenna Martin, 400-metre runner, is a family friend, and the sister of my son’s summer vacation playmate. To see someone compete in the Olympics that you remember as a small child, is quite spectacular indeed.

While watching Jenna’s success, we were inspired to have our own family summer Olympics. My husband, three of our sons, and I, all participated in our own 5.4 km marathon. Ok, I know that isn’t officially considered a marathon distance, but since I’m not a runner and about as athletic as Frosty the Snowman, a run half that distance is a marathon in my mind.

The track was a dirt road in rural Nova Scotia from my in-law’s house to our cabin on Dean’s Lake. We would run one way, then be picked up at the cabin and driven back to the house.

On the first day, we all started off together with the teenagers taking turns wearing the 20lb. weight vest. It’s exactly 1km to the first turn and I was huffing, puffing, and complaining long before we even reached that point. But I was committed to at least finishing, even if I had to walk.

Seeing someone I knew and could be proud of actually on TV, both in her races and in commercials, was very inspiring for me. It helped me make the first step and got me out running with my boys. They say the first step is the hardest. Having Jenna gave me the spark that put me in motion.

WHAT INSPIRES YOU? Is it seeing world records shattered at the Olympics? Is it seeing adversity conquered in Paralympic athletes? Is it seeing your CEO give an inspirational speech to a room stuffed to the rafters and thick with anticipation? Is it watching someone speak up in a meeting under difficult circumstances?

I remember someone once said “history is messy when you’re in it.” Well, I can tell you that it’s true. It’s not the easy, everyday stuff that we need inspiration to take that first step or go that extra mile. It’s the hard, challenging, messy stuff where we need the push. Look around you and see where you might find a source of inspiration. Get together with other women at work and talk each other up, tell success stories, and help each other win.

That’s what my boys (including my hubby) did for me on that first day of our family Olympics. They were shocked that I actually agreed to do the run, and were even more shocked when I didn’t give up half way. Since we were running through the backwoods, we all had to stay together. That meant that the boys had to double back when they got too far ahead. They all probably ran at least 8km in a 5.4km race. When I was red in the face and gasping for breath, my boys would encourage me and tell me what a great job I was doing. When I finally reached the finish line (purely by the grace of God) one of my boys presented me with a bouquet of wild flowers for being able to finish the race.

As a leader, what are you doing to encourage and inspire your team? Are you giving encouraging words? Pats on the back? A nicely worded card? You never know when you are the champion that inspires someone else.
Dawn Frail Running champions

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