Since my last post I’ve been trying really hard to keep “thinking like a Spartan”. The crazy thing is how drastically different a day can go if I’m staying focused on choosing my thoughts versus a day where I’m less intentional. A prime example being what happened at Farm Tech. My hero, Chris Hadfield was the keynote speaker, so if I’m honest, that was the biggest reason I was stoked to be going to Farm Tech. The night of his presentation I was on pins and needles, because I had brought my copy of his book along, as well as a black sharpie. Taking Chris’s own words of wisdom to heart, I knew that if there was any chance at all of me getting his autograph, I needed to be prepared and needed to create the possibility by truly believing it was absolutely going to happen.
So when his talk ended and almost 2,000 people got up to give the Commander a standing ovation, I started snaking my way through the crowd toward the stage. I could see that there was not going to be a book signing opportunity, not a chance. They were clearly going to whisk him back stage immediately. But instead of giving up and saying oh well, it was impossible, I figured if I put myself in exactly the right place to intercept him on his way off the stage, even if the odds were very low that he’d give me a moment of his time, that was my best shot. So that’s what I did. And as I approached the astronaut, as he headed toward the curtains beside the stage, I thought “this is it, I’m going to meet Chris Hadfield”. Just then, I was given a very stern head shake by a guy I assume was either his host or a security person, and I stopped in my tracks. And then, unbelievably, Chris saw me there holding my book and waved his hand for me to follow him back stage. He put his hand on my shoulder and showed me through the black curtains, saying “sure I can sign that for you”.
Now, it’s not like we had a long heart to heart about our shared passion for aviation, aerospace, agriculture and story telling. But I did very quickly tell him how much his book meant to me, as a pilot and aerospace engineering grad, and told him about my trip across Canada in a 1961 Aircoupe, to which he replied “an Aircoupe hey? Great little airplane”. When I came back through the curtains I was practically shaking. Out of 2,000 people, one fan got through to meet Chris Hadfield. Me! I made the impossible a reality, and it felt amazing.
And on the other extreme, I’ve also had a couple rough days in the last week or so. Days where I have been so utterly NOT present and focused on what my intentions are, that I’ve said things to coworkers and family that I’m not proud of. It’s incredible when you begin to realize how much of an impact you can have on others when you don’t think before speaking, or when your thoughts are focused on yourself.
I had wanted to start my Spartan training as soon as I decided I was going to enter the race, but found various excuses not to get into it, like not having all the right gear at home to do it right, or deciding I needed to do more research to properly plan out my training schedule before diving in. But I forgot to follow my own advice. I’ve always claimed that I live by the philosophy of “jump in, get started, and THEN figure it out and tweak what isn’t working”. So last Sunday I finally spent some time looking up some beginner workouts to prepare for a Spartan race, and came across the Spartan 1500, where you aim to complete 100 reps of 15 difference exercises. They recommended starting much smaller, and working toward the 1500 goal eventually. Good advice! I optimistically aimed for 30 reps of each exercise, and completed 20 of each before hitting the wall. I was a complete wreck, crumpled in a ball on the floor, gasping for air. But, tonight I’m going to do it again. And again and again and again until I reach my goals. Because just like getting an impossible autograph from the world’s most popular astronaut, I truly believe it’s possible if I keep my intentions focused like a laser beam.
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