The first multisport race that I ever signed up for was a sprint duathlon two years ago. I was hesitant at first but wanted to set a goal for myself. I guess after that race I was hooked and went from racing a sprint du, to signing up for the 2010 Ironman Calgary 70.3 even though I hadn't been in a pool in ages.
Fast forward to last August, a few weeks after Calgary 70.3, I was signing up for Ironman Canada which is now only days away.
I didn't realize it at the time but when we set our sights high and finish what we set out do, something great happens to those around us, they ask themselves to do the same. In the past year I've had the pleasure of seeing my dad, my brother, my fiancee, and a half dozen other friends cross the finish lines of their own races. From sprints to Half IM's, they've done it. I can't say that they wouldn't have done those races anyways, but its nice to know that I've been those journeys.
Aiming your sights high and settling for nothing less than success isn't something you do just for yourself, its something you also do for those around you. The power of individual successes combined with the strength of social networks means that we can each make the world a better place by rising to our potential and encouraging others to do the same.
(For empirical evidence of this I strongly urge you to watch Nicholas Christakis' video on the Hidden Influence of Social Networks)
For more poetic evidence of this, I have a quote for you.
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."