Doing the impossible

Ted Jackson in the middle of his seven marathon challenge. Photo credit: evoke.ie

Ted Jackson in the middle of his seven marathon challenge. Photo credit: evoke.ie

If you haven’t heard of Ted Jackson, let me introduce you.

Ted ran seven marathons, in seven days, on seven different continents.

In total he ran 183.4 miles in one week.

And he’s not an elite athlete.

In fact, Ted is 42-years-old, has a bit of a gut, and is not especially fit.

He also didn’t train a whole lot for the event.

When I prepared for my first marathon I trained for five months and the next day I could barely walk down stairs. The idea of doing it again the next day seems unimaginable.

So, how did Ted do it?

Honestly, I’m not sure.

Except that Ted did five powerful things in his approach and they all have to do with his MINDSET.  

Here are the four elements of his mindset that we can all adopt when driving after a dream or approaching our everyday lives: 

1.     He believed that he could.

To an elite athlete it may appear that Ted half-assed his training, but he didn’t half-ass believing that he could finish. 

Many of us gravely underestimate what we are capable of accomplishing. We’re afraid we can’t go after something because we lack money, time, education or even good looks.

If you believe that you can’t do something you desire or that it’s not destined for "someone like you," then I recommend swiftly kicking that belief in the nuts.

Point your mental energy in the direction you want to go - logic aside - because knowing HOW you're going to get there is less important than believing that YOU can. 

You are no different than Ted. 

Don't let fear, experience, talent, or public opinion stand in your way.

You can do the seemingly impossible.

2.     He didn’t go for perfection.

Ted finished 20 hours – nearly an entire day! – behind the winner.

His only goal was to finish before the cutoff time to catch the next plane, which he did (even by minutes) every time. 

He may have been dead last each time, but I wouldn’t say that he sucked at running marathons. Yet many of us are so afraid that we will suck, look like an idiot, or fail at something that we never do it.

As leadership coach, Michael Hyatt says, “Perfectionism is the mother of procrastination.”

Don't put your dream (or life) on hold because something isn't "good enough." Life is too short for that and you're way too talented. 

3.     He knew his why

At one point Ted laid down in the middle of a marathon and said that he was “f*cking broken.”

Anyone who has gone after a dream has faced moments of staring at defeat, maybe having similar feelings of being “f*cking broken” after having something else go awry. 

If you know your big WHY – the burning reason tied directly to your heart and soul - you’re far more likely to get up and keep going.

What was Ted’s why? The love of his life, his wife, Sophie. She was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, and Ted was fueled by the desire to raise money for the organization, Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis.

Why is an incredible question to play with and ask yourself frequently. 

Like, why do I want to do this? 

4.     He had a sense of humor.

After completing his sixth marathon in Dubai, Ted stripped down to a speedo, dove into the Persian Gulf and, as he described, “came out of the water much like Daniel Craig.”

Don’t take yourself too seriously.

I spent so many years of my life trying not to look like an idiot that I missed all of the benefits of acting like one, like the benefit of laughing at myself.

Injecting humor into a situation can make everything easier.

Plus, laughter boosts our immune system and reduces stress hormones. 

Do what you can to see the humor in your life, even in your defeats (when you’re ready).

And if your funny bone needs a little tickling right now, click here for a hilarious Ellen video that never gets old. 

Or, watch this video on Ted Jackson that inspired this blog post.

5. He was determined. 

Ted has a will like few people I've seen, but we're all capable of sheer determination, particularly when we believe that we can and know our why

If you know that you must do something in your life - it's your calling - don't let anything stop you. 

What mindset makes the difference in your life? 

Post a comment below. I'd love to hear from you!