“Struggling and suffering are the essence of a life worth living. If you’re not pushing yourself beyond the comfort zone, if you’re not demanding more from yourself – expanding and learning as you go – you’re choosing a numb existence. You’re denying yourself an extraordinary trip.” 
Dean Karnarzes

Recently  we have been speaking about how our Personal Vision (our attitude, outlook and beliefs) powerfully effects everything to do with our health and fitness. Today we’re sharing a story about how one of the team transformed his Personal Vision and self-belief through setting a goal that many would think is beyond them. I hope it inspires you to start taking small or big steps to achieve your own health and fitness goals this year. Enjoy…

By Jatinder Singh Associate Partner & Mentorship Coach, Lighthouse International

I’d always had this belief that I could never run a marathon and I wasn’t a ‘runner’. My change in belief was inspired after reading a book by Dean Karnazes – an ultramarathon runner who had run races of over 100 miles for fun!

I wanted to share with you the impact our Personal Vision (our outlook) has on our health and fitness to help you begin to see your own potential and achieve more of the goals you want in life. I also wanted to share how having the right people around me made a massive difference to keeping the commitments I made to myself and helped keep me going when I really wanted to give up.

Be sure to also check out the really inspiring video of Dean Karnazes at the end…


Running is not something that comes naturally to me. For those of you who know me, you’ll know I like food! I’m certainly no Dean Karnazes but I wanted to share with you just how much my Personal Vision changed in this area and how easily it can slip back if you aren’t constantly working on it.

We have very little idea of what we are capable of achieving and what I achieved here is a small example of that in an area where I felt incredibly incapable. I lived in Bermuda 8 years ago. It was an ideal life, too easy in fact, 15 minutes on the scooter to travel to work. Finishing at 5pm and on the golf course at 5:30! However something was missing. I wasn’t pushing myself and I needed a challenge.

As someone who thought that running 10k was a massive achievement, I picked up a book on ultra-distance running and found out about people that can run 100 miles. Just reading that changed my Personal Vision massively in relation to my running goals. I started to see myself and what I was capable of very differently and I started to believe I was capable of setting and keeping to a fitness goal. “If someone could run 100 miles then at least I could run a marathon”, I told my friends who just laughed. At that stage I couldn’t even run 5k!!

Fortunately there were a couple of guys that were training in groups and so I joined them. The first couple of runs I dropped out at 5-6 kilometres which felt like a marathon to me! The thought of running a whopping 42k was a pipe-dream! But I kept plugging away and the belief of running further and further became a reality. 6k became 10k, which became 15k, which became 20k. Because of the heat, I started waking up at 5am to be on the road at 5:30am on the weekend. I started to feel a massive sense of emotional achievement. I was overcoming the internal resistance from my mind which said that I can’t run long distances. I felt as if I had a purpose. In the end I ran the marathon in 4 hours which was in the top 25% and I was running passed people who were amazed it was my first one!

It was a massive achievement, but one which I took for granted and I stopped training as hard for the other two marathons that I ran at a slower pace. Instead of building my Personal Vision to become better and better at running I became lazy and I stopped going running with the running group. This just shows how much our Personal Vision can fade and needs to be worked on all the time in line with what we want.


What Did I Learn From My Marathon Experience?

When you’re looking to make a change in your life, starting with a more tangible physical goal is often a great way to start. That’s what I found at least. Here are my other lessons…

1. To Achieve Our Goals in Life It Requires Constant Work on Our Personal Vision

As my Personal Vision and outlook towards running changed I began to see training differently. The training runs that I’d always seen as a hindrance and something to avoid began to be a way to build confidence in myself and my ability to make and keep a commitment. Through working on my attitudes and beliefs, I began to see my own potential to achieve more of the goals I wanted in life.

Even writing this has helped me because I can see where I went wrong. I’d done a lot of work on my Personal Vision but only in relation to one goal, to the detriment of a wider life-plan which I’ve since done a lot of work on. Our attitudes, beliefs and outlook require constant nurturing and I’m now planning on running another marathon as part of a balanced goal-setting plan.

2. Having the Right People Around You Is Crucial to Follow-Through On Your Goals

Even though running helped me physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually, I confused the goal of completing the marathon with that of my life-purpose, which is why I haven’t run another one for the last four years. It was a “tick the box” event rather than something I saw as becoming integral to the whole of my life. Even though running helped me physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually, I confused the goal of completing the marathon with that of my life-purpose, which is why I haven’t run another one for the last four years. It was a “tick the box” event rather than something I saw as becoming integral to the whole of my life.

Being surrounded by the right people was a big factor in why I followed-through. Often having people there next to me was the big factor in not stopping when everything inside me wanted to give up.

Here are a few questions for you to think about that may help with your own fitness goals…

1. Are there any areas of your life where your Personal Vision makes you believe you are incapable of achieving a physical goal you want?

2. What are those beliefs and what changes do you need to make to start believing you can achieve them?

3. What baby steps can you start with to get going and build up from there?

4. Where can you get the right support from the right people to help you through the tough times? 

Well I hope that has sparked a little inspiration and enthusiasm to achieve any particular physical goal you could set for yourself. Finally, remember – we are all capable of achieving far more than we believe we can, if I, who couldn’t even run 5k, then completed 3 marathons, what could you achieve?


You can email Jatinder here…

Check out this powerful video from Dean Karnazes for a little more inspiration on where a compelling Personal Vision can take you…

Marathon images courtesy of Steven Pisano @ Flickr Video courtesy of The House of Red Thunder

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