Keep pushing…always

Originally posted by Dave Thompson on work blog, September 25, 2012

I’ve wondered before if someone would have talked to me about dreams & goals in a way that related to me at an earlier age if I would have listened & if my life would have been different in any way. Or would I have given it the same limited attention as I did to career placement tests and guidance counselor input that never resonated or connect with me then. What would my dream list have looked like at the age of 20 versus 40, and what would already be accomplished? I gave all three of my kids dream books a year ago – it’s fun to see what they write or draw in there. They absolutely remind me to dream without boundaries and to keep it fun :)

Martin Dugard is an endurance athlete and world adventurer who shares life lessons as a high school track coach in To Be a Runner. I really liked this book. He focuses on pushing yourself and challenging personal limits as a regular part of your life, and continually reinforces his mantra of “Keep pushing…always”. He uses the term “quest” (or adventure or odyssey) instead of dream or goal – they’re all the same. Create a target – call it whatever you want – and then aim for it. Many of his lessons tie perfectly to a simple framework I’ve been doing such as is suggested in The Dream Manager by Matthew Kelly:

  • “with so many in the world all too happy to bask in mediocrity – settling instead of pushing – those who learn to be the best version of themselves know the secret to a full life.”
  • At the start of each running season he has each runner write down 3 dreams which he gives back to them at the end of the season (one is personal, another for the team, and the third is where they see themselves in 10 years). He refers to the third dream as:
  • “a gut check, one that requires them to see the people they desire to become, exploring parts of themselves they reveal to few people – and maybe not even to themselves. You need to be honest with yourself and your desires, knowing in the back of your mind that controlling destiny is a fifty-fifty blend of aspiration and fate…It’s my wish that during the season they will have traveled so far as athletes and achieved so much that once seemed impossible, that they will have come to possess the building blocks of perseverance, determination and grit that will guide them to the fulfillment of those final dreams.”

    Wow – exactly what I believe having (and actively chasing) my list of goals and dreams does:

  • Getting to know yourself better. That’s why we work to create a list of 100 dreams, not 10 or 20, and why I ask so many thought provoking questions in the initial dream session. Stretch yourself and learn to be comfortable in your own skin! Keep working to get your dream list to 100!!
  • Building blocks. This is one of the key ways that I rationalize the support of personal dreams in the workplace. Learning to achieve personal dreams pays off by what employees can then get accomplished at work. It doesn’t matter where you get those building blocks – we can’t separate our personal from our professional. Develop great habits and you can’t help but apply them everywhere!

And here’s where it all comes together in Martin’s book:

Keep pushing is a reminder not to settle but to dream, to live, to sing, and sometimes it’s about letting go of the past to fulfill your destiny. Keep pushing is not about rituals, performance, accomplishment, achievement, or feeling guilty about taking a day off from the pursuit of a quest. It is a pursuit of that best possible version of ourselves, refusing to accept mediocrity, and waking up each day full of hope instead of fear. It’s having courage, taking a risk, staying focused on the important things in life. And it’s remembering that courage is not the absence of fear but the ability to press forward despite your fears…Because Keep pushing…always is also a reminder that life is sometimes about letting go – even giving up a dream – without sacrificing the personal qualities that make those talents and aspirations possible…I figure as long as I live each day with that sort of mind-set, whatever random fears I have of settling or letting mediocrity seep into my life will be kept at bay just one more day – even if it means depending upon three simple words to find courage when I have none.”

What a great quote! Who’s got a personal mantra that reminds them to stay active and dreaming? Maybe I’ll add finding one to my dream list…until then…Keep pushing…always!

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