Monday, February 14, 2011

Beyond Hope

An incredible challenge

To readers of this blog, you know that my niece T- is one of the greatest inspirations in my life.  Tonight, she stands on the brink of one of the greatest physical and mental challenges in her life.  To her, this post is dedicated. 

To others that face challenges in their lives, find the motivation and inspiration in these words that I hope she will find; the motivation in over 9,700 miles that I have logged in training, races, and fundraising events since that day she ran the Marine Corps Marathon in 2006 for the first time; the day when I said, "I think I can do that."


I want to say some things that may not come across with the same positive encouragement that you have known from me in the past.  But do know that they come from my heart with all the love and respect that I can convey.

First of all there is the issue of success.  I know in your mind there is self doubt and worry that you  may not achieve success.  I could say that there is no need to worry about passing or failing; that you are a success in the eyes of all that love you.  I could say that you have already achieved success.  Both are true.  But saying either would be giving you the comfort in defeat that you do not wish to enjoy.

I will say this instead.  You are only now beginning to understand the enormity of your challenge.  It is only now that you are beginning to glimpse how is high the climb, how far is the distance, and how preciously short is the time before you. 

And finally there is the issue of hope.  We who love you can offer encouragement, advice, and prayers.  And we can hope.  And you can hope.  But hope is not a strategy for success.  It is a reason to move forward against all odds; it is the reason to persevere.  But it in itself, is not a strategy. 

This is the time where you must recognize the goal is not in what you can see, it is not even in what you know; the goal lies far beyond that which you can comprehend.

The distance is not what you can measure, it is beyond where you have been.  And the time you have is not what you remember, it is the flash between what lies ahead and what has been.

Hope is not enough for what you must do. You must do more than you can even know.  You must push yourself farther than any goal you have now or have ever set in the past. You must push yourself faster than you can go.  And you must think smarter than you have ever thought before.

Because winning is not just about crossing the finish line.  It is about using every faculty you possess.  It is not about using your best to the best of your ability.  It is about using everything you have to outrun, to out-distance, and to out-think those that hope to lure you into believing that what you have done in the past is good enough.

Let them rely on hope.  You must push yourself beyond hope.  Beyond what you have known.  Beyond what you believe is possible.  And beyond what you call success.  You must push yourself beyond what you can dream. 

Only then will you know a success that no one can impart to you.  The success no one can take from you.  The success you earn!

And only then will you know what few others know--what lies beyond hope.

With all my love and my deepest respect,
Your Crazy Uncle,

Success is not measured by the challenges you are dealt, but by the challenges you set before yourself.