We’ve all seen this before; the classic, “Your Comfort Zone vs. Where the Magic Happens” photo that pops in my Facebook newsfeed in some variation or other at least once per week. This is my version, and it looks similar to all the other versions, (i.e. not super interesting), but it makes a clear point: The things that we are afraid to do are the things that, when NOT done, hold us back, in life, in business, in school, in sport, and so on. As soon as we step out of our comfort zone, and approach those things that may be giving us several species of stomach butterflies, as soon as we attempt (or even accomplish), the things that are holding us back, “luck” makes its appearance, “the magic happens”. (For those that know me, you know I don’t believe in “luck”, any more than its possibility of occurring due to chance. For the most part, I believe we have to increase our own chances, make our own opportunities, or at the very least, open the door when they knock).
I believe that those people who take big chances, seek big dreams, strive for those opportunities outside their comfort zones, lay out a plan for reaching their goals, and WORK HARD to accomplish them, will succeed and lead others. I believe we need more kids to turn out like Steve Jobs, Nicola Tesla, Nelson Mandela, Eleanor Roosevelt, and every “ordinary” parent (or mentor) who lays it all on the line to help create opportunities for their kids (or mentees) to do the same. I believe we need more kids who see a different and better world and work to achieve it, and more kids who think they can make a difference in their own lives or the lives of others.
Many of you know that in 4 days (YIKES!) I will embark on one of the greatest adventures of my life thus far. I’ve already had so many adventures, for which I am thankful as each one broadens my experience and understanding of our world, and extends my compassion towards its people. On this next adventure, I will be running across the most remote part of the United States, from the North rim of the Grand Canyon to the Grand Staircase in Utah. It will take 7 days, and I will cross 271 km (168 miles) on foot, carrying my gear and food. (At least I won’t be alone! Seventy-five people from 15 different countries will be doing this with me – I have company in my craziness!)
The first question people ask when they find out that I am doing this is perhaps the most difficult to answer succinctly. They ask “Why”. Normally I give the canned response, jokingly, about the things that I’ll agree to do after 2 glasses of wine. But the real answer lies within the message of the “comfort zone” photo above, and actually reminds me of another saying. When I was in University, my grandmother gave me a magnet (I think in a Christmas stocking) with the old adage “Eat one live toad in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you for the rest of the day.” For years, I had that magnet on my refrigerator. It’s since disappeared, but I still remember this whenever I have some really difficult things to do. Set out to do those tasks first thing in the morning, and all of the rest of the daily tasks will seem easy (or easier, as the case may be). This Grand to Grand Ultra Race is a little like that for me. If I can get my body to cover 6.4 marathons in 7 days, sleep on the ground in a tent (a totally un-Stefanie thing to do), eat freeze dried camping food and electrolyte tabs (I definitely prefer pâté and wine), then anything else I choose to do (at least in the very near future) will seem accomplishable. (I think I made up a word there… ;)
Because of this, and my belief that more people, especially kids, need not just to step, but to JUMP out of their comfort zones, I am choosing to support Impossible2Possible (i2p) with my run across the desert. I2p is a non-profit organization that takes kids on trekking expeditions (similar to the G2G, but in various places around the world), and teaches them that they can accomplish great feats. They also learn how others live, they often support specific projects with their run (such as building wells, etc.) and they talk to kids in classrooms all over the world during their expeditions, teaching others as well.
If you feel like I do, that we need more kids who turn into adults who “do stuff”, please consider donating a few dollars to i2p, by visiting my FUNdraising page here. I have paid all of my race fees myself, and I have purchased all of my gear myself, so 100% of any donation here goes straight to i2p. For more information on Impossible2Possible, check out their website (click the video at the top of the page). You’ll get a better idea of what they do. My FUNdraising goal is $1500 dollars. That seems like a lot, but really, if we work together, it’s $50 each from 30 people, or $25 from 60 people, or $15 from 100 people – not that difficult a feat. I’ll be the first to donate on my page. (Did I mention that I also believe in doing whatever you are asking others to do? That’s important for your brand integrity – put your “money where your mouth is”. My last over-used cliché of the day. I promise! ;) Thanks so much for reading and have a great day!