Take a minute and recall a time in your life when you’ve accomplished something you’re really proud of. (If it takes you more than a minute, that’s ok)
Did this special accomplishment come as the result of staying focused, overcoming challenges and not succumbing to thoughts of quitting? And if you had a setback (or a series of obstacles) you had to overcome, did you persist and eventually succeed? When I did this exercise, the accomplishments that I came up with all fit this description and I’ll bet yours do too!
Here’s one on my list…About 5 years ago I made the decision to hike the West Coast Trail (on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada) with my friend Terry. This 75 km hike has a reputation for requiring fitness and endurance to traverse forest trails, mud holes, rocky shoreline, suspension bridges, and extensive ladders. This world renowned hiking trail also has the reputation of being one of the most beautiful scenic areas in the world with huge trees, lush forest canopies, and spectacular shoreline and beaches.
We spent many hours preparing for the hike, dehydrating food to pack, getting together packs and tent, going on training hikes, reading books about the trail, etc. Everything had to be packed with us…not many hotels, stores,or restaurants on the West Coast Trail. And the mental preparation was most important, being prepared to face inevitable adversity…the west coast of Vancouver Island is well known for major rainfall and storms coming in from the Pacific Ocean. Conditions can get nasty in an instant. Fortunately we had mostly clear skies.(on the west coast fog counts as clear skies) The physical requirements for hiking the West Coast Trail can’t be taken too lightly, and here we were, two guys in their fifties taking on the trail that many 30 year olds would find difficult.
The raw beauty of the West Coast Trail is difficult to describe. The surrealism of the forest and beaches, especially when shrouded in a blanket of fog, punctuated by the crescendo of waves pounding the shoreline, with the tang of salt air in our nostrils to round it all off is something that must be experienced to be understood!!
I’ll always remember how we felt when we completed the hike, physically exhausted, with aching muscles, and needing a shower in the worst way. But we knew that we had just accomplished something very special with a sense of awe for what we had the privilege to see and experience.
It took a lot of persistence to plan and prepare and then to keep pressing on when aching legs and backs were telling us to quit (we were packing about 60 lbs on our backs) But it was all worthwhile! I can honestly say that completing this hike is one of my most memorable accomplishments in the past 10 years.
I’m sure that your examples of memorable accomplishments will have the same common ingredient…the power of persistence. When you have to stay focussed and persist in overcoming obstacles in reaching your objective, the rewards of accomplishment are so much sweeter.
Have a fantastic day
“Persistence beats resistance”