Being inspired by a speaker in a Toastmaster club in Singapore I decided to run a marathon. It seemed almost an impossible dream for me, yet I wanted to give it a try. I signed up for the Standard Chartered Full Marathon in Singapore in 2012. Never in my life had I run a marathon and I knew it is not an ordinary feat to achieve. I was in my mid-forties then. I wasn’t a great runner but I thought that this would be a really cool thing to do to prove that I can do something impossible.
With determination and confidence, I began my training for the marathon. Indeed, it was very hard for me to train after work as I had a full-time job with the Republic of Singapore Navy. Though I didn’t enjoy running, I had to prepare myself mentally and physically to finish the marathon. Experts say that you need to train for six months for a full marathon (42.195 km) and four months for a half marathon (21.098 km). In my case, I just had four months to build up the stamina for a full marathon. If you participate in a marathon without adequate training, you might get injured or it could be life-threatening and in most cases you may not even be able to finish the run.
Finally, the day of the marathon arrived and I was at the venue with much self-doubt, nervousness and stress which most first-time runners usually feel. I was more worried about what others would think of me if I didn’t finish this marathon. How will I look at people if I cannot finish the run? What a shame would it be? I even felt like my reputation would be at stake if I didn’t complete the run. I felt like I had made a bad decision and even regretted posting it on social media. Professional runners from all over the world came for the marathon as there were lucrative prizes for the winners. I felt totally out of place as most of them looked like real runners. But deep inside I had the intense desire to complete the run and secretly believed I could do it. I used self-affirmation to take charge of my chatter box which kept reminding me of what could go wrong.
Finally, the marathon was flagged off and I had no choice but to run. Because if I stayed where I was, people behind me would have run over me! It works the same way in life; if you stay where you are, you will not grow, and you will not achieve anything worthwhile.
I kept going despite the negative thoughts but gradually, my body started showing signs of fatigue and my muscles began to ache. But I persevered and I finished the 42 km run in five hours and twelve minutes. It was a moment of great joy and fulfilment for me, and I believed that if I can run a full marathon, I could do anything. My self-esteem shot up to the sky. From that day my life changed, the way I look at problems changed. I began to dream big.
Denny Joseph is an International Corporate Trainer, Career Coach and a certified Neuro‐Linguistic Programme (NLP) practitioner. He is the author of Design Your Destiny and Speak With Confidence. He is the founder of Genius Minds Academy (GMA) in Bangalore and co-founder of Nexus Training International in Singapore.