Iron Man. What a feat. A 3.86km swim followed by a 180km cycle and then why not throw in a marathon?! No worries.
Last Saturday I ventured to Taupo to watch two incredible friends tick it off their bucket list - Iron Man. I am still shaking my head trying to comprehend exactly what I witnessed.
Normal, everyday folk pushing their bodies to the absolute limit in order to cross the finish line within the 17-hour cut-off. Whoever came up with the idea originally - what were they thinking?! Now while some were pro athletes, many others were just regular people like you and I who had set a goal and were out to make it happen. And boy, do I admire that!
Watching the blood, the sweat and the tears literally roll off these incredible people as they spent every minute in motion for hours on end, was at times gut wrenching. The determination, will power and absolute mind over matter required to keep going when it was dark and cold was inspiring.
At one point, seeing the total pain and exhaustion on our friends' faces as they "kept going" made a couple of us supporters teary eyed. We could not help them. We could not hug them or stop them and wouldn't dare talk them out of it. They had to do it alone. Ultimately, their success was up to them.
As we stood there cheering them on with cowbells and crazy dances, it made me think. The absolute key to success in life is to never, ever, ever give up. When you set a goal for yourself it is up to you and only you to make it happen. People can support you, cheer you on, encourage you, but no one can do it for you.
At times you may hate what you are doing, kick yourself for thinking you could do it, feel like quitting, talk yourself out of it, doubt yourself, question your sanity, think "what if?", cry and shout and this is where most quit.
But if you can do all of the above and still find the will power and determination to see your goals through to completion - what an incredible life of achievement you will lead!
At 11.35pm (after starting at 7am) my two friends ran through the cheering crowds to the sound of Beyonce's Single Ladies, holding hands and lifting their arms high in the air as the commentator announced: "YOU - ARE - AN - IRON MAN!"
No one can take that away from them.
Ever. They never have to do it again (and I know they probably won't!) But despite the pain and the increasing negative thoughts of "why am I doing this?" they stuck with it, didn't give in or give up and achieved their dream.
Something magical happens when people triumph over adversity. It has a ripple effect upon those around them. It is inspiring. The enormous sense of pride we felt watching them cross the finish line sent a clear message to everyone: If you want something bad enough, you have to work for it. And if you do, then anything is possible.
This instance brings to mind one of my favourite quotes by Walter D. Wintle who said: "Life's battles don't always go to the stronger or faster man. But sooner or later the man who wins is the man who thinks he can."
My friends don't consider themselves "athletes". They were not the strongest, nor the fastest in the race. But they had a dream and made the decision to make it happen.
Success is 100 per cent mental.
"If you think you are beaten, you are;
If you think you dare not, you don't.
If you'd like to win, but think you can't
It's almost a cinch you won't.
If you think you'll lose, you've lost,
For out in the world we find
Success begins with a fellow's will
It's all in the state of mind."
There will never be a "perfect time" for anything. Life is far too complex for that. You can always find a reason to put your goals off.
In the meantime life will pass you by, and next minute, you will be old and frail looking back on all the things you wish you had done. Blood, sweat and tears is hard, but regret is harder.
So what is on your bucket list? What is holding you back from achieving your dreams? Time to have a mindset check.
Life is short. If it's scary and exciting - do it!
And remember never, ever, ever give up . . . ever.
Be Real. Be True. Be You!
# Kim Davey is an international speaker, author and entrepreneur who lives between Hawke's Bay and LA and runs www.nzdancenetwork.co.nz and www.kimdaveylive.com