What I learned from crawling through mud, wading through freezing water in the rain
Just to be clear, I had no intention of doing Tough Mudder. I was coerced and bullied into doing it by my colleagues on the advisory board of Breaking the Silence. Despite my protests, I found myself in the middle of nowhere with thousands of people drenched in mud and howls from others being electrocuted, all in the name of fun!! But it was a profound learning experience.
I’m always encouraging others to push their boundaries, but looking in the mirror, do I really practice what I preach? Here I had no choice to go way beyond anything I’ve ever done and it was liberating.
I set off at a steady pace, full of grit and determination. I glanced back looking for my team and they had gone straight to the back. My honest gut reaction was “Oh come on guys”. I had something to prove to myself! But in a split second, I let the ego go. This was about the team. But how many of us run ahead and leave others behind?
The spirit of friendship and comradery was overwhelming. People whom you wouldn’t speak to on a normal day, would climb on my shoulders, grab you, and refused to let you go, whilst others would insist that they were not leaving without you. When you can focus thousands of people’s energy and passion behind a single goal the results are amazing.
But the most powerful lesson for me was Jackie. Jackie was older and unfit. She had been told by friends and family not to do it and she was crazy. She had settled in her mind to do a couple of obstacles and that would be it. But she pushed and pushed. She never gave up, she reached out when she struggled, she tried things that she shouldn’t be able to do and she overcame. What I saw was that in the space of 3 hours of pain, mud, freezing water, and rain, Jackie had been transformed and she had a new sense of reality. Jackie truly was a gift to me at that moment.
So Tough Mudder thank you. I raised money for a great charity, pushed personal limits, and had the most amazing time. But most importantly, I got so much more from the achievement of others than my own.
A couple of questions for you:
· Do you push limits, or is it simply lip service?
· In your organization have you galvanized energy and passion behind a single goal?
· Are you caught up in the “me”, or do you give much more time, space, and credence to the success of others
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