Recently I walked in the Atlanta Peachtree Road Race held annually on July 4. For me, it’s more about hanging out with friends and family who walk along together.
I’m not a runner. Not even a sprint walker — but I am a finisher. Mama taught me that the difference between winners and losers is that winners don’t quit. They may have to find 1001 ways to keep trying but the simply DO NOT quit! I finished the race and it’s a cool feeling. I had some side effects from the heat and needed some extra R & R, but it’s all good.
What was incredible to me was how much benefit I received from people who showed up to sit on the sidelines and simply cheer us on. The longer I walked toward my 6.1 mile goal, the more I felt the momentum to not only finish but enjoy it. These people had come to sit outside in 90 degree temps to cheer their friends / family and some complete strangers on toward their goal. Totally cool folks!
We had a group of 15 and some had race numbers and some did not. Some ran, some sprint walked, and some like me, strolled for the fun of hanging together. We were practically the last group going in. They were rolling up the wire fencing behind us at the starting line.
All along the way, as our group, The Tortoise Team 🙂 was strolling along, and most people from the sidelines had left to join their family and friends at the finish line or headed home, I was amazed that many had stayed behind to cheer for us. We were bringing up the rear and I didn’t know them, people on chairs and in wheelchairs, policeman, fireman, moms and dads with little ones in strollers, ems teams, people singing, folks handing out water.
I felt like Eric Liddell creating my own version of “Chariots of Fire”.
As I trudged along, I thought how much I appreciated these people for staying there to clap for me and whistle and say, “You can do this! Good job!” “Don’t give up, don’t give in, keep the faith!” The more I heard it, the more magical it seemed. These people just seemed to enjoy encouraging people to continue toward their goal, the finish line and the opportunity to rest and high five their peeps.
I thought what great parents these people must be, if they cheer their kids on in such a positive way.
I thought how good it must make them feel to show up and support people they don’t know and watch them change from putting one foot in front of the other to dance with enthusiasm at the sound of someone cheering them to their own personal victory.
More importantly, I thought, this is the kind of person I want to be in the lives of others. I am a Financial and Life Coach and I want to be the cheerleader to those who need the courage to keep on keeping on when they feel their motivation beginning to ebb away.
I want to cheer my kids, and hubby, and friends, and family to their own personal victories. I want them to know that I believe in them.
I came home to a deadline one day later on July 5 of getting the first chapters of my book to my editor. A goal that I have probably dreamed of and hoped for since 8th grade.
This is my year. I turn 50 in September and I refuse to die and leave the music of my heart still inside of me. I have to get it out. I have my own crew of eight who are encouraging me and holding me accountable.
When I sent those chapters off to Eric, my nephew and editor, I felt like I was bullet proof and walking on air. It was the greatest feeling. I made my first deadline. I said I would do it. I reported back to those who were encouraging me. It felt good, real good!
The thing that is the most rewarding for me, is that because others believe in me and support me, I am learning to believe in me. Even before I see the results. Knowing that someone else will take the time to hang out to check in with me is incredibly motivating. I’m eternally thankful to my mom, my hubby, my daughters, and my team for watching for the times when my feet start to slip and my pace begins to slow. They watch and yell as needed. “You can do it!” “Hang in there!” “You’re almost there!” And I realize, I think I can, I know I can, I can and I will.
How about you? Who are you standing or sitting on the sidelines to support and cheer on toward their goal? If no one has noticed, let me be the first to say, thanks to you, moms and dads, families of our military, those with disabilities or time needed for recovery from an injury or accident, those going through procedures to be cancer-free. Thanks for standing for your team! They couldn’t do it without you! We appreciate you. We need you. We don’t give up because of you!
And where do you need a coach or cheerleader to help you stay your course? Ask someone to step up with you. Maybe it can be reciprocal. You can be each others’ cheerleader for your unique goals! Find a way to not give up.
Like Mama says, “Winners never quit!”
Hang in there! Happy Trails … wherever they lead!
Sheri Geyer is a Christian Life Coach, Mentor, Writer, Wife & Mom