Saturday, February 11, 2012

Finding Your Passion

Today, Saturday morning, my alarm went off at 5 a.m. I was less than thrilled and laid there for another 20 minutes before I finally managed to get out of bed. It was freezing outside, snowing, and I was exhausted. It's been a long week. I really just wanted to stay home in bed but I had made a commitment earlier in the week and had promised I would speak before our training. Still dragging my feet I pulled my kids out of bed at 6 a.m. We made our way down to Lipscomb University where Team in Training was having a fundraising clinic and then a training run.

Our mentors and coaches were out, our participants were out, some even wearing fun Valentine's Day costumes. All out on their Saturday morning. I loved it. I loved seeing them excited. I think I've always known it since I got involved, but I fully realized today that Team in Training was passion of mine - I also realized that just because it's mine doesn't mean it's everyone else's. I have other passions I'll blog about later, but for now, I wanted to share about Team in Training/Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Team in Training is the world's largest endurance sports training program. We train people for half marathons, marathons, traithlons, century rides, scenic hikes, and trail runs. Our participants get an amazing, experienced coach at their disposal, a mentor to be there for whatever questions they may have, weekly training sessions, and an incredible event weekend. In return, our participants raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. They raise money to find a cure to blood cancer. That's the logistics.

Luckily it goes so much more deeper than only logistics. I've been able to be both a participant and a mentor. Both sides are equally rewarding. As a participant, I received so much more than the above. I received lifelong friends; lifetime experiences; and most importantly, perspective. As a mentor I have the distinct honor to watch the participants grow through running and themselves. They accomplish things they feel impossible at the beginning of the season. They inspire me.

Today, a great friend of Team in Training provided the Mission Moment (a few minutes when someone speaks and reminds us why we are out there) with incredible poise. He lost his wife to leukemia last year and was back with us for the first time. He didn't talk in excess about the pain I am sure he feels, or how difficult it was for him and his family. Instead he thanked the participants. Thanked them for giving up their Friday nights in exchange for going to bed early to get up early on Saturdays. He thanked them for raising funds for life saving cancer research. It was nothing short of amazing.

This is my passion. Sure, it's tough some days, but it seems like those days that are the hardest to get motivated are the days that I get smacked in the face with someone like this morning. I'm not a great runner, and I probably never will be but that doesn't matter in Team in Training - the people in this organization never cease to blow my socks off. I can't imagine life without it. I actually tried to take a break earlier in the year and realized I missed it. I missed seeing my friends and I missed the heart inspiring people and stories.

Maybe this cause doesn't speak to you. Maybe it does (if it does, please contact me). If it doesn't, I strongly encourage you to find what does speak to your heart. What gives you goosebumps? What makes you tick? What inspires you? What, even after years, still amazes you? What gives you the feeling inside that is really indescribable? What makes you feel like you're making a difference? Go. Go. Go. Don't wait for tomorrow. Find your passion. And do it passionately. You'll be glad you did.