April started just over a week ago and now #TeamSlenderseekers is in the middle of week 4 of our 13 week couch-to-10k training schedule.
This time things have been a little different for me and I have to say it’s taken me a little bit to get caught up with the crazy deposits this has put in my emotional bank account.
Some of you may remember this, some of you might not, but around this time last year I was struggling with some very rough body image issues. I would stand in front of the mirror each morning and ascertain what was wrong with my body and tear myself apart with this overwhelming need I had to try to achieve perfection. It got so bad that eventually while in Dallas, a group of four women who shared a common concern for me took me out to dinner and we had a conversation about where I was in my journey.
One of them looked at me and in a tough love moment said to me, “You need to get over yourself and realize that this is much bigger than you.” It’s sounds harsh, but sometimes harsh is what you need to hear. “If I took a pin,” she continued, “and placed one on a map all over the country for every person whose life you have touched and then I put a pin in the map for every person whose life they have touched because you touched theirs, maybe you would start to realize that this is much bigger than you.”
I receive emails daily from Slender Seekers out there whose lives I have touched and it humbles me and makes me realize why I do what I do. I take those emotional deposits and I put them in my bank account and they pile up and I pull from them on those days I need a little extra strength to get me through.
But with this contest, with this contest winner, with this new person training under me as their coach; it has been different.
When Amy first wrote in, attached to her essay entry for the contest was a little note with a line that read “Thank you for inspiring me and so many others! You are a Warrior. This contest will change a life.”
A little bit later, after receiving the confirmation that her email and been received her message included another short note that read;
Again, thank you for this contest. Even if I don’t win, it has really inspired me this week to read the posts on your page, watch your video, look at your pictures, learn more about your victories and what drives you. It has helped me motivate myself to get to the gym when I wanted to lay on the couch. To push harder to run another minute or another two minutes. On Monday I ran 5 minutes on the treadmill before I walked. After entering the contest on Tuesday, I went and ran for 12 minutes. I felt so inspired, so much more strong and capable.
You are a truly special human being, and I hope to one day run by your side.
Each time I receive a note like this it brings tears to my eyes and joy to my heart. To know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I have impacted someone’s life and motivated them into a happy healthier life is the biggest emotional paycheck I could receive.
But it didn’t stop there, not with Amy. Because my “How Do YOU Celebrate Success” contest winner seems just as motivated as I am to motivate others and before I knew it a few things had happened.
First not only did Amy and I get registered for the Wine and Dine Half Marathon, but my contest inspired others to do so as well, and both Amy and myself are bringing friends along; friends who signed up on their own to join us in this adventure.
Team Slender Seekers isn’t just Amy Smith and Pandora Williams, it also includes Tammy Beaumont and Stacie Bollon, not to mention Heather Rosenberry who is joining us for the Mickey’s Jingle Jungle 5k.
As we launched the #WineDineC210kPrep Virtual Event the numbers started piling in for people who were participating. Another 48 pins hit the map of lives I had touched as both mine and Amy’s friends joined up and committed to training alongside us and completing a virtual 10k with us as part of the #TeamSlenderSeekers #WineDineC210KPrep – Virtual Event Group
It is truly amazing watching my dream unfold in front of my eyes. In the last month since we announced the winner of the second “How Do YOU Celebrate Success” contest, the deposits going into my emotional bank account have been huge. It’s like I won the emotional lottery. Watching Amy start working on paying it forward to her community and seeing those pins go in a map and realizing that so far, with one contest and one winner I have touched the lives of so many other people is probably the most rewarding gift I have ever been given.
Next Amy decided that she was going to do a 2k Color Us United run on May 26th as part of her training and invite her friends to go, without my prompting her at all. She named her team “Team Slender Seekers” and without even knowing it, Amy put one of the biggest emotional deposits in my account to date. As I look at the Facebook page for that event ( Team Slender Seekers: Color Us United ) this morning, tears swell in my eyes and all I can think is “My Daddy would be so proud of me.” Thirty-three people are signed up to go participate with her and they are currently waiting for their Team Slender Seeker shirts to arrive. To each and every one of those signed up for that team, thank you for being a part of a dream of mine.
Walt Disney once said “You can design and create, and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality.”
To everyone that has gotten involved in this event, from those participating to those cheering us on, from the companies that have stood up to help Amy with photos ( Solid Rock Photos ) to the people who have helped me with travel planning–and especially to the Sponsors that have made this all possible: thank you. Thank you for believing in my dream and for being part of the group of people who have made it a reality.
Today my emotional bank account is full because of you. The message that I hope you get here #SlenderSeekers is that each one of us is just one small pin, but what we do when we start to pay it forward to our community no matter how small it may seem; (Because that first pin hole seems so tiny sometimes) is much bigger than you may realize. Never be afraid to pursue a dream and always have the courage to reach for the stars.