The street corner marked the end of my eight mile run, and upon reaching it I peeled off my tank top. It was soaking wet from being in the rain for just over an hour, and I rang it out as I walked the final block to my drive way. I opened my front door to see my wife looking at me with eyes wide open and a smile on her face.
“I look out the window and see this beast walking up the driveway without a shirt on!”
She went on to explain that it wasn’t just the fact that I had removed my shirt, but also the way I was carrying myself, and the look of determination on my face. What she didn’t know was that during that 70 minute run in the ever increasing rain, I had found my “why.”
I’ve been hearing the concept of needing to know your “why” for several years. For any goal that you are trying to achieve, being able to succinctly articulate why you do what you do can motivate you through difficult times, and drive you to do your best. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the reason behind why I put my mind and body through the adversity and pain of marathon training. I’ve even written down several things that I was sure qualified as my “why.”
- To use my abilities to their fullest
- To someday qualify for the Boston Marathon
- To inspire others
These are all well-intentioned and honorable reasons to run marathons, but none of them really resonated with me. Whenever I’d look at these reasons, I simply asked myself the question, “But, why?” During that eight mile run, as the rain came down harder and harder, my mind started to think about how miserable I should be. But I didn’t feel miserable. I felt like the run would make me both physically and mentally stronger and help propel me along my goal to qualify for Boston. I thought about what it would feel like to stand at the starting line of the Boston Marathon. I imagine it would feel amazing, and I want to know what that feels like.
I want to know what amazing feels like.
Suddenly I not only had a crystal clear goal in front of me, but I also knew why I wanted to reach it. That realization was the reason behind the confidence in my step, and the determination on my face as I walked through the door.
This applies to any goal a person looks to accomplish. It’s easy to identify big goals, and with a little work one can even create a plan of action to achieve those goals. But there has to be something for a person to pull from when the going gets tough, and there will be challenges along the way that make continuing on difficult. You have to be able to remind yourself why you started this journey, and what will be missing from your life if you give up. Once you find that reason, once you find your, “why,” you will find yourself with determination and resolve that you didn’t know you had. It won’t make achieving your goal easier, but it will give you the strength to keep fighting when the voices in your head are telling you to stop.
The last two miles of my run were in a rain hard enough that I had just gave up wiping the water away from my eyes. My shoes were water logged and my feet were wet. My shorts were drenched, and my inner thighs were rubbing together in a way that I knew would cause painful chafing later in the day. I just kept saying to myself, “I want to know what amazing feels like,” and I just kept running.
When we were paying off our credit card debt the goal was clear, and the reason for doing so was also very clear. If we weren’t successful, our lives would be affected negatively forever. There was really no option but to crush that debt. Without that clear vision, and a “why” to be dilligent with our finances we recently lost our way a bit. My run over the weekend has reminded me that I need to find a reason that resonates in our core. We can roll along for now just fine, but when something unexpected comes up, we will need something to draw upon. We need to know our “why.”
What financial goal are you working towards right now? Do you know your, “why?” If so, has it helped motivate you to keep going?