Over a decade ago I was inspired by a revered and popular public figure who ran their first marathon sometime after turning 40. I said, "I'd like to do that one day - run a marathon - sometime in my 40's". Fast forward to November 3rd, 2010, and within minutes of the clock striking midnight, I cried myself to sleep. I had turned 40. My tears were not due to the actual number, but over the fact that my life didn't look like what I thought it would at this age. I was childless despite every effort not to be, and behind closed doors I was hopeless and lifeless. I had many broken dreams and a broken spirit to match.

A month after turning 40 I remembered my words all those years ago and asked my health care practitioner whether I'd be physically able to run a marathon (especially being 20kg / 45 pounds overweight), and if so - how long would I need to prepare. He replied, "12 months". I asked, "Would 11 be okay?" He nodded. That night I registered for the New York City Marathon and the next morning, I started my training program (which was written for me by an expert in aerobic endurance training). To ensure nothing stopped me from realising my dream (like luck in the lottery selection process), I registered with a charity and have a guaranteed place. I now have 9 months to go before I head to New York and realise my dream - running the marathon, three days after my 41st birthday.

This is my journey...

Monday, 28 February 2011

The power of a poster

It's one thing to imagine your dream in your mind's eye, but creating an actual visual of it is quite another. This practice transports your ideas, fantasies and dreams into a realm of possibility. It starts to feel real.

Despite the cheesyness of one such visual (see Exhibit A: My inspirational poster), it has proved to be amazingly powerful.

When I first registered for the New York City Marathon, I was still recovering from an injured spirit. If I were to measure the string of broken promises (to myself) in dirty laundry, it would have stretched across the Great Wall of China. That's a lot of damage to one's relationship with oneself - and a lot of dirty laundry.

I had come to resemble a typical recovering addict often featured in Hollywood dramas - as much as you want to believe in them, you can't help but anticipate their inevitable fall from grace (pardon the pun and the omission of my addictions, which were illicit foods and beating myself up for being less than perfect). Though I would declare that I believed in myself, in truth - I had very little faith in me. The two are distinctly different.

Behind the facade of a thrilling adventurous lifestyle, harboured a deep sense of fear, self loathing, uncertainty and incompleteness. I was sick and tired of feeling sick and tired. Despite the insights and peace I gained from Project Grace 2010 (which BTW, I started a year ago tomorrow) and coming to terms with the clock striking 40, I still felt lost.

The idea of running the New York Marathon made my heart flutter, just as the idea of sitting next to my secret high school heart throb once did in 1985. Surely this was a sign that my heart was in it and that I was inspired?

From the moment I signed up I began to practice what I subsequently advised in the last Saturday Tip - protecting the flame of inspiration (especially from myself). Not only did I have to protect the flame from people wanting to blow it out, but I also needed to frequently stoke the fire and feed it fuel.

My inspirational poster became my fire stoker and feeder. I have it on my desktop, Google home page, office and bedroom wall plus, most importantly, on my iPhone. Every time I switch on my device, I see this image over and over again, day after day, week after week - thus ensuring that I do not forget my dream. As a result, the dream becomes more and more real - and I am growing more and more confident.

There are many exciting things on the horizon, which I am bursting at the seams to share with you. Instead of falling over myself with excitement (as I often do), I am taking things one step at a time - just as I do when I'm out running. My faith (in me) is in the midst of restoration, as is my spirit. Such is the power of a poster, albeit cheesy.

Until tomorrow, do not underestimate the power of visuals. Embrace the cheese and create a poster of your dream so that it feeds and stokes your fire of inspiration.

Grace xx

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