Break through barriers
I recently had dinner in Yakima, Washington with Greg Luring. He and his wife, Jan, own 11 McDonalds stores in the Yakima Valley. With heartfelt enthusiasm and an earned air of achievement, Greg told me about riding his bicycle back to Ohio for his 30th class reunion. "This is a 2,350 mile trip. It took exactly 5 weeks and I rode every day but two. I didn't reach 100 miles per day until after two weeks. My best day was 135 miles. One mental state of mind really helped me - I decided that I would rent a car if it looked like I wouldn't make it back to Bellefontaine, Ohio in time. I would drive to the reunion and drive back to where I rented the car, then finish the ride. Knowing that I was going to finish one way or another kept me focused and indeed, I did finish the ride one day before the reunion. My 75-year old father arranged for a police escort into town." Greg knew how many miles per day he had to average in order to arrive on schedule the day before the reunion. He rode by himself and rented hotel rooms each night. He said when he fell behind and it looked like he wasn't going to make it on time, his agreement with himself kept him going. It was this level of commitment that gave him the drive he needed to get up at the crack of dawn and keep on pedaling later in the day. With this extra measure of committed determination, he arrived the day before his class reunion. Greg lost 35 pounds on the grueling 5-week trip. Jan, who had flown to Ohio, and several of his high school buddies and friends came out to meet him as he crossed into Bellefontaine city limits. They gave Greg a hero's welcome.
Greg told me, "Words can't describe how exhilarating it was to 'cross the finish line' in time." He knew his friends would welcome him home if he were driving a rental car with the bicycle in the trunk, but not the kind of welcome they gave him when he
pedaled across the city limits.
Greg's sense of achievement can't be won or inherited, you can't marry into it or win it in the lottery. This sense of achievement can only be earned. Greg said, "The lesson I learned is that when I make a non-compromising commitment to a stretch goal which has rewards and consequences built in, I achieve far more than what, at points along the way, seemed physically possible."
The action I call you to take is to identify an area of your life where you would like to experience greater achievement, set a stretch target that will give you a great sense of accomplishment, a non-compromising goal which has built-in rewards and disciplines. Then go for it. The benefit you will gain is a sense of accomplishment that will stay with you for the rest of your life. You may discover that your distance knows no bounds.
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