Are you listening to the brave voice in your mind?

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying ‘I will try again tomorrow’.”

Mary Anne Radmacher

Courage is an outward demonstration of inner strength. It is the choice to persevere even when you are scared. It is the willingness to look fear in the face and still act.  

Sometimes our most courageous act is stripping all the non-essentials away and focusing on what matters. Every day we have an opportunity to show our bravery in this regard. Every day is the chance of a lifetime to make the bold decision to act in a manner that demonstrates what we genuinely believe. Listen to the voice in your mind and if you weren’t successful today, be brave tomorrow.

To see courage, go watch the last hour of the race…

“Each time we face our fears, we gain the strength, courage, and confidence we need to move forward. It’s far easier to change things than to change people. The real survivors in life are the ones who have the mental fortitude to press on even when the body wants to quit. Even if you don’t finish ‘first,’ you still need to continue on until you cross that finish line.”

P.M. “Chief” DeMarks

The people that always impressed me the most at the Ironman races I competed in weren’t the Uber fast athletes that were finely tuned speed machines. I was impressed by the everyday person who took on the mental challenge of completing one of the most grueling endurance events while also earning a living, taking care of families, etc. Those competitors always motivated and inspired me with their spirit of “never giving up,” no matter the pain, fears, or doubts. If you are ever in doubt of the human mind’s strength, cheer during the last hour of an extreme endurance event. You will see some fantastic displays of fortitude and courage.  

Starting is easy.

Quitting is easy. 

Finishing is hard. But that is when the real value is created…

Everything will come together…

“Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.”

John Quincy Adams

Patience is knowing this too shall pass, there are lessons to be learned, and we will be better for having learned them.

Perseverance is remembering all of the things outlined above and never, ever giving up.

When you see the world with a solid grounding in patience and perseverance, anything is possible. Everything will come together. Go make it happen…

brown puzzle pieces
Photo by Dmitry Demidov on

Rise up!

“Today if anything is trying to hold you back, give no attention to it. Get your hopes up, get your faith up, look up, and get ready to rise up.”

Germany Kent

Can you tell when something is trying to hold you back? When something is standing in your way? How do you ignore a giant obstacle that appears in your path? How do you move past what seems insurmountable?

Like so much of the country, my family has been obsessed with “Hamilton” over the past month. Well, it’s been a lot longer than that. I’ll be we have watched it half a dozen times and I have lost count of how many times we have listened to the music over the past few years. It is simply incredible. As a musical theater buff, there is a long list of shows that I have seen over the years that I have loved, but there has been nothing like Hamilton. Every bit of this show is pure genius.

When I picked the quote for today I kept hearing the refrain from the song “My Shot,” which specifically is the latter part of the song “Rise Up.” I simply love this music and the story that is being conveyed. If you haven’t heard it, here is the refrain I am referencing. Hamilton – Rise up!

There is no reason that Alexander Hamilton should have been successful. In fact, there are a million reasons that he should have failed before he ever came to the mainland. But he prevailed. He succeeded in the face of the greatest odds. He got the job done…

There is a lesson in this simple refrain. No matter what stands in our way we have a choice. We can let it beat us. Or we can rise up. We can overcome. We can prevail. Who knows, if we do it often enough, and with enough fervor, perhaps someone will write songs about us one day…

Why = Perseverance Fuel

“Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did.”

Newt Gingrich

Is perseverance still required if you love the hard work you are doing?

Personally I have found that even when I love the work, getting tired will still happen. But I have also found that perseverance is easy when you are mindful of what (or who) you are working for. It is hard to stay committed to the hard work if you don’t have a burning and compelling “why” that is driving you forward.

If you have a clearly defined “why” then perseverance is easy. If you have lost your “why” then you are going to lose the will to get it done. Stay focused on the why.

“Why” fuel…

“Whatever the struggle, continue the climb. It may be only one step to the summit.”

Diane Westlake 

Sometimes it is when you are just ready to give up that the breakthrough occurs. When faced with discouragement and you are at the place where quitting seems like the easier option, take the time necessary to reconnect with your “why.” Why are you doing this challenge or initiative? Why is this important? Understanding and reconnecting with your “why” can provide all the fuel you need for the next step.

Have patience…

“Have patience. All things are difficult before they become easy.”


Do you remember the first time you rode a bicycle? How about the first time you gave a presentation or spoke publicly? Both are hard and it likely took a lot of effort and energy to master these skills. But through dedication and repetition those difficult tasks become easier and even routine (well, maybe not for public speaking). To master the skill you have to weather the storms and deal with the inevitable setbacks and bruises. The key is to have a goal that is more important than any temporary pain or frustration. Only then you can achieve your dreams.

All the small things…

“Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after the other.”

Walter Elliot

If you ask anyone that participates in long distance endurance events they will tell you that they aren’t at the start line thinking of the race in it’s entirety. No one starts an Ironman race thinking about the 140.6 miles that are in front of them. Instead it is broken down into much shorter segments that are easier for the mind to focus on and control. For example, it’s not a 140.6 mile race, instead it’s a 2.4 mile swim. Yet it’s not a 2.4 mile swim, it’s a swim to the first turn 800 meters out. It’s not even a swim to the first turn, it’s a swim to the next course marker buoy 200 meters away. It’s not a 200 meter swim, it’s settling in with a smooth stroke and easy breathing.

The same logic applies to the bike and to the run in an Ironman. It applies in marathon and ultra-marathon distance races. That is how one perseveres over distances and challenges that are too great for the mind to comprehend and embrace. It applies equally well in life. It’s not about the great thing you want to accomplish five years from now, it is the exact next thing that you must accomplish to become the person you want to be. To be a person of perseverance and determination doesn’t happen with the big things, it happens with all the small things that are strung together.

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