by Julia James, Certified Life Coach

I recently completed a 30km cross-country skiing marathon – a real stretch for a girl who lacked confidence and skill in high school athletics. But this journey wasn’t about competing; it was about
completing… and contributing. My efforts were inspired by a desire to raise funds for my favourite charities.

After four skiing lessons, I was armed with techniques and mental queues to keep me going and make the most of every stride: “pop,” “up” and “kick!” My excitement to participate helped me push past lingering self-doubts, and on the day of the race, not even the cold (-16 C!) could deter me.

It took over four hours to complete the race, but I was so absorbed in the gorgeous, sparkling scenery and my constant self-cheerleading that I didn’t even mind coming in last.

I learned several lessons about achievement:

Challenge Yourself

When we stretch beyond our history and perceived limits, we step into a larger version of ourselves – a stronger, more capable version that empowers us well into the future.

Embrace Your Determination

Our most worthwhile goals take a serious investment of time and effort to achieve, and when the energy begin to wane, determination will drive you to the finish line.

Use Positive Self Talk

When my body tired, I reminded myself to use efficient ski techniques. I told myself to relax and enjoy the blue sky, the crunchy snow and the joy of racing.

Celebrate Your Achievements

After the marathon, I noticed many participants talking about past or future races. They had lost touch with the day’s achievement. This reinforced one last lesson: Savour today. Celebration generates energy and momentum to take on the next challenge!

If my journey inspires you, I encourage you to:

1. Choose your own challenge, something that stretches you beyond past experiences. Journal along the way to help identify your lessons.

2. Consider making a charitable contribution to celebrate my achievement. I’ve selected three charities close to my heart; you can donate here.