I was recently interviewed on the “Running Times” podcast, which is hosted by my friend and ultrarunner Michael “Gagz” Gagliardi. Towards the end of the interview, Gagz asked me what advice I would give to a younger version of myself. My answer was simple: say YES. This doesn’t apply to everything across the board, of course, but on a personal level, most of my life’s most incredible journeys started with me saying “yes” to a challenging or potentially daunting question. Those yesses have led me down the path in life that was made for me and cultivated me into the person I am today.
Whenever I speak with people about ultrarunning and what it has done for my life, I always come back to the same theme: above all else, ultrarunning has better helped me understand who I am as a human being. To be an ultrarunnner, you must willingly put yourself into situations that push you beyond your perceived limits, often creating some very dark moments. You have no choice but to face yourself and how you manage those situations. It can bring out the worst in you or show you that you’re capable of far more than you gave yourself credit for. It wasn’t until I tested myself on this level, that I fully understood every aspect of my being. Talk about a powerful revelation! I also recognize that there’s a common thread to those experiences: they have all taught me that anything is possible with hard work and faith in the process, and each experience provides perspective to better equip us to handle the next experience. I refer to this phenomenon as “digging the well deeper.”
When you go through any challenging experience in life and come out the other side of it, you have dug your well just a little bit deeper. And then the next time you need to draw from your well, there is that much more to draw from. It’s the gift that keeps on giving, but the tough part is that you have to face those challenges head-on. The only way to dig your well deeper is to understand that you have to work your way through difficult obstacles and find it deep within yourself to overcome them and find success. That success might look the way you envisioned, and it might not. The important thing is the journey you take to get there and everything you learn along the way.
So, I guess what I’m getting at is that I hope you will say “yes;” I hope you will embrace and take on challenges that make you better; and I hope you will dig your well deeper. It just might change your life for the better!