Having The Courage to Dare to Fail and Make Impossible Possible
My journey to chase impossible began after I crossed the finish line of my first marathon. It was a feat so audacious and overwhelming that I doubted myself every single step of the way. I almost quit at the halfway point when I saw the skyscrapers in the distance, impossibly far away, and realized that they were my finish line. I almost quit at mile 20 when my legs felt so heavy, I didn’t think I could keep moving. And I wanted to quit at mile 25 when the downhill hurt more than the prior 10 miles combined.
I’ll never forget what it felt like to finally approach the finish line. I felt like I was moving in slow motion. Not in the romantic sense where time slows down because everything is magic. I was shuffling so slowly, I was being passed by people who were walking. I was dying. My finish was anything but picture perfect. I couldn’t raise my arms in triumph. I felt like I had no control over my body WHATSOEVER. (A few minutes later, my mom would have to help me out of a porta-potty. TRIUMPH!)
But I did it. I had made my impossible possible.
Running a marathon was something I never thought I would EVER be capable of doing. HELL, running a mile was something I never thought I would be capable of doing. But there I was, running for my life. Running gave me purpose and a reason to get out of bed in the morning. Becoming a runner and chasing impossible saved my life. And after crossing that finish line, I promised myself that whenever I told myself something was impossible, I was going to give it my all and see what happens.
All my life, the only running I did was away from anything I wasn’t innately good at. If I didn’t think I could be the best or execute something perfectly right away, I either found a way out of it or I quit. I felt embarrassed whenever anyone saw me struggle to understand something or perform to the impossibly high standard I set for myself. And running taught me that I can’t shy away from things that I’m not very good at. That it’s OK to struggle or fall on your face when you’re learning a new skill or working new muscles. Stepping outside of your comfort zone and challenging your predefined limits is where growth happens. It’s a judgement free zone.
Earlier this year, I challenged all of you to chase impossible with me. I was two years and two attempts deep on my own journey to make my impossible possible and qualify for the Boston Marathon. BQ or Bust started as a way to stay true to the promise I made myself after I ran my first marathon and challenge myself to see what I was actually capable of but in the two years that followed, it’s impossible to quickly sum up how much I’ve learned along the way.
Chasing impossible changed my life and led me to opportunities I never dreamed were possible. From the creation of the sports bra squad to understanding the importance of process goals instead of outcome goals, it makes my head spin to imagine my life had I not decided to chase my BQ.
And crazy enough, I haven’t even done what I set out to do! I’ve failed to BQ four times now! Yet I feel like I’ve won…
At the start of 2018, instead of setting a New Year’s resolution to lose 10 pounds or go to the gym more, I challenged all of you to chase impossible. To set a goal so scary, that failure seemed inevitable. Thousands of you sent in pictures along with your impossible goals. From running your first 5Ks, half marathons, marathons, and ironman competitions to getting a new job and working on positive self talk, the goals were personal and they they were scary.
Finding the courage to chase a seemingly impossible goal is what stops most people from taking that first step. From shying away from something because we know we won’t be perfect to giving in to that fear of failure, it takes a hell of a lot of courage to set a goal you aren’t sure you’re capable of. But every time we can see ourselves in someone else's story, or whenever we see someone bravely daring to fail, it helps us see that the only way we can fail is if we fail to try.
To everyone in the #BadassLadyGang who dared to make impossible possible, CONGRATULATIONS. I hope it was as life changing and transformational for you as it has been for me. And whether you made your impossible possible or not, I hope you’ll consider sharing your story, what you learned, what surprised you, when you doubted yourself, what derailed you, and what inspired and motivated you with all of us here on She Can & She Did. Whenever we see ourselves in someone else's story, or whenever we see someone dare to fail, it helps us muster the courage to take that first step as well. Never underestimate the power of your story.