“Your body doesn't give up on Ultra marathon race day, it's your mind that has the final say .” - Michael D'Aulerio
Here are my 14 life and business lessons learnt from Ultra Running
1. Deal with the small stuff!
That voice niggling away in your ear - stop and listen to it - what might seem small and inconsequential now could end up driving you to distraction and using up valuable mental energy.
2. Know where you are
Navigating to where you want to be means understanding and knowing where you currently are. Write out your plan and mentally bookmark where you are on it continuously. If you lose your place you can go back to the last place you knew for definite and then go from there.
3. Enjoy the dark
Get comfortable with not having all the answers. Things do not always go our way. The ways you have of navigating where you are may not work so well in the dark. Relax, let your senses guide you, know that it is always darkest before the dawn. Enjoy the knowledge and different view of the world you get in the dark.
4. Know You
You are the only person with you every second of every day - get happy with that. Greater self awareness and self management means greater flexibility in our thinking, feeling and actions in a constantly changing environment. Make decisions that work towards your goal.
5. Its ok to slow down
Slowing down can make a big difference. You can see clearly what is happening around you and gives you some time to recover your energy. This isn't about ambling - stay purposeful and meaningful in your actions. You are in charge of how you are in the world.
6. Its ok to stop!
Relentless pursuit of your goal can be draining emotionally, mentally and physically on you and others around you. You will recover if you give yourself the chance. Acknowledge the signs that you need to stop, eat, sleep... stop chasing others - you'll catch them up. Tell yourself the positives of what you have done so far - ask for help from others if you need it. Have patience and be gentle on yourself. Start up slowly as you feel ready to move on.
7. Be in the moment
Rather than focusing on the end goal - break it down into chunks. Focus on what's in your immediate control, enjoy the moment you are in knowing it is unique and taking you where you want to go.
8. Either / Or, or somewhere in between
It's easy to get caught up with the end goal and see it as either we are on our way to achieving it or not. Take a step back - you're in this for the long journey. Targets set at the beginning need to be reviewed as we go - be flexible about changes as they happen - give yourself the space to make changes and not letting yourself stress when the targets move - move with them, let them go, create new ones with the knowledge you have gained so far.
9. Be a part of where you are
Take stock and fully immerse yourself in the landscape around you. Experience it fully through all your senses. This is not about looking at it from afar but being part of it.
10. Be organised
Thinking back to 'Know You' - you know what might stop you so do something about it at the beginning - have a plan B, C, D... keep to hand the strategies that work for you . If you've already thought about what might a problem further down the line then you can come up with ways round it - if it happens then you're ready to deal with it. This is your life and it's going to be a long one - which means more moments to deal with, more choices to make.
11. What goes up must come down
Prepare for the hard work of going uphill and remember to enjoy the downhills. Be mindful of the fact you can get a little out of control the faster you go downhill and are more likely to trip and fall here than on the up! Be purposeful!
12. Whose rules?
This is your journey, your strategy, your goal. You set the rules for you. If it works for you it's right for you. What works for others is right for them. Experiment and learn from each thing you do and develop your strategy from there. Be curious.
13. Just one of you
You are the only you that's in this world - your journey is unique to you - remember that.
14. Finish first
This means you have to get to the finish line - not that you have to be the first to the finish line! Achieve your goal; get to the end of this particular journey. When you've done that then you can look back at how you achieved it and take new knowledge forward into the next one!