Cornwall Ontario — Betty Healey writes: In the wake of the devastating attack on one of the most prestigious races in North America, the Boston Marathon, I am choosing to focus on an inspiring lessons rather than the devastation.
If you have watched the images of the explosions you will have noticed that one of the runners fell down from the impact of the explosion, just before reaching the finish line.. The runner’s name is Bill Iffrig, a 78 year old gentleman from Washington state who was completing his 3rd Boston marathon.
In his own words Bill described the impact of the blast, a shockwave which turned his legs into noodles. Although dazed, he recovered, and once back on his feet was determined to finish the race. Imagine, despite the devastation around him and being literally knocked off his feet, he decided to finish the race.
This is an inspiration for me – I hope it is for you as well. Never mind that Bill is 78, never mind that he was dazed and pummeled by the blast, he still had the drive and the focus to finish the race. That takes courage and purpose, a lesson which I believe all of us can learn from.
In watching CNN today (yes I admit I tuned in), much of the focus was on the fear such an incident creates and how people go on. The truth – you choose to finish the race.
There are so many things that get in the way, that can keep you from fulfilling your dreams or living your life as you choose it to be. As a life coach and ME FIRST facilitator, I see the causalities every day, the symptoms of a ‘life unlived’.
Fear is the biggest foe, whether it is the fear created by an incident such as that experienced in Boston yesterday, or a fear that is much more subtle and simply whittles away at your self-confidence.
In her book I Will not Die and Unlived Life, author Dawna Markova describes fear as passion without breath. Fear, she suggests, takes our breath away and for all the wrong reasons. Markova goes on to say that to be fully alive, the only choice you have is to move closer to what it is you fear rather than veering away from it. When you veer away, you can’t finish the race.
Each of you have a race you want to win, whether this is a project that beckons to be finished, a desire that remains unfulfilled, a relationship that needs healing, or a journey that keeps calling to you. Stop and consider your life for a moment and ask the question, ‘What is left undone for me to finish?”
In sitting with one of my coaching clients this morning, the complaint that was voiced was what to DO and who to BE next. There is a common malaise that I am witnessing which related to too many projects on the go, too few ever brought to completion. The race is never finished.
Completion is important. It leads to a sense of fulfillment; you experience a sense of success. Success breeds self-esteem which in turn builds self-confidence.
When you have too many balls in the air, too many incomplete projects, your fall into overwhelm. Overwhelm is a state where your energies are scattered, where priorities are unclear and where there is no strategy or direction for moving forward. The only way to shift or change this is to simply stop, choose one project, put everything else in the ‘parking lot’, move forward with that one project and bring it to completion. Finish the race. Once completed, you can celebrate your accomplishment and move on to the nest project.
I call this breaking life into chewable chunks. I am certainly guilty of occasionally biting off more than I can chew, and I easily fall into overwhelm. The only strategy is to simplify, to understand that I don’t have to give up anything but that I do need to put some things in the parking lot for another time. And like you, I do love the feeling that comes with completing something. I like to finish the race.
Thank you Bill Iffrig for the lesson. As we all send our blessings for healing to those who suffered loss and injury in yesterday’s race, we can also be grateful to the unsung heroes like Bill who teach us valuable lessons for our own life.
Whatever your race may be, I invite you to commit to finishing the race. Make your life count for something. Do it for yourself first and remember that when you make this choice, you are also serving others.