Taking Aim

Anyone who really knows me knows that I’m a goal orientated person. I need goals and targets to aim for at all times, personally and professionally. The targets range from big to small, long-term to short-term, but I always seem to have something to aim for. My New Year’s resolution to try at least one thing new, different, unusual, challenging etc every month is one clear example of this.

I guess this is one of the reasons why I’ve found the last year in my current job so difficult – I’ve not had any real projects to work for, no targets to aim for. I’ve been listlessly turning the cog for the past year doing three people’s jobs just to try and keep things going until the next project, the next target, is set for me (or set by myself). It’s also been frustrating as my workload has been so much that my work took over my life and that meant that it took over some of my personal targets.

I’m currently in my second and final year of a university postgraduate diploma which has been one of my biggest long-term goals of my adult life. But I failed both of my courses last semester as I as unable to complete and submit my coursework in time as I was doing so much overtime at work. I’m determined not to let that happen this time and, of course, I’m determined to pass last semester’s modules in the resits in the summer so that I do succeed in completing my course. I’m so excited about it that I might even go back to Scotland (as it’s through a university in Scotland that I’m studying) to go to my graduation ceremony!

Recently I have set myself new goals based upon fitness, running in particular. Running has been a passion of mine since I was a teenager and I used to run competitively as a student and a graduate until I had an operation on my right knee in 2001. After that I lost the confidence to run again but now, as I have seen my health improve so much over the past year, I feel as though I’m now in the place to work towards regaining my competitive edge in running. It will be a long-term project (planning a training programme of 10months at the moment) but one that I am sure I will find fulfilling, although there may be many frustrating moments along the way.

One of the things I love and admire the most about my friends is that they all seem to be goal-orientated people too, in their personal lives as well as their professional lives. They all seem to have a direction, a purpose. Sometimes I even find myself a little jealous of the drive and determination they seem to have to aim and shoot for their targets. But sometimes their attitude for this annoys me.

Let’s go back to the running for an example. Many of my friends also enjoy to run too, so it is good to know that I will not be the only one pounding the streets of Dubai over the coming months. But they all seem to get so caught up in the specifics of their targets that they sometimes lose perspective of everything.

One particular guy I know ran the Dubai Marathon in January for the first time. He had ran one marathon a few years ago – the London Marathon – in 4hrs 17mins and was set to run the Dubai Marathon in under 4hrs. Once he completed the Dubai Marathon in 4hrs 17mins he was so lost in being upset with not running it in under 4hrs and not being better than his previous time, he forgot to consider the achievement that he actually completed a marathon – something which millions of people will never accomplish in their lives.

He was aiming for the bullseye and got disappointed when he hit the borderline between the bullseye and the next ring out. How annoying! After the marathon I had to remind him how proud I was of him and how proud HE should be that he actually accomplished something. The fact that he did it in the same time as the London Marathon – a few years on, a few kgs heavier, a few degrees hotter – is also a great accomplishment. So, there is not point in getting lost in the disappointment of not running in under 4 hrs, celebrate the great achievement instead. I think it took him a while to get his head around it.

At the weekend it was the RAK half marathon. 10k races and half marathon used to be my forte when I was running as a student, so I feel a pang of self-disappointment when I’m not fit enough to complete in these races but I remind myself that I shall shortly be fit enough if I stick to my plans and feel more than happy being there to support my friends. this time, I decided to support all the runners and not just my friends, so I signed up as a marshall for the marathon.

I was stationed at a u-turn at about 14.5km, shortly before a water station and the last relay change-over at 15km. My job was to make sure all runners took the u-turn and stayed on course. I thought it would be a little boring hanging around for hours on end waiting for runners to come along, but it was actually really good fun! It was fun to smile and cheer and clap and jump around when runners came past. It was great to see them smile back and wave. Some of them even talked to me, mainly about the race, but some said how great it was to see such a smiley face and lively person at such a dire, difficult part of the race (over half-way there, feeling the fatigue but a little boring as not really any supporters on the way). A few blew kisses and high-fived me. One even picked me up off the ground and hugged me. One even asked me for my phone number. Some I ran with for a while to support them through the fatigue as I refused to let them walk past me, so I ran with them until they picked up the pace again. I loved being the support there for the runners.

It made it even more special for me because a few of my friends ran the race – some of them I didn’t know about until I saw them! First past me was an ex-boyfriend of mine from last year. I didn’t know if he was running or not, but I guessed he would as he’s done it before. It didn’t end well between us and I doubt we’ll ever be friends, but that didn’t stop me from jumping around, cheering him on and shouting his name.

I later texted him to congratulate him and was so sorry to hear that he has recently been a victim of the economic downturn and is redundant from work that he was always so passionate about. Next past me was a lovely friend who is always so cheery and happy. In fact, she spotted me before I spotted her, so she called my name first, so again I was jumping about cheering (more on her later). It wasn’t just my friends I looked like a crazy loon to though. I did it for any random runner to encourage them. Sorry if I put you off your pace by distracting you. It wasn’t my intention.

Then came the 4hrs17mins Marathon Man.

Now I went to support him running the marathon and he complained that I didn’t shout and cheer when he went past, so this time, I did jazz hands, shouted his name, encouraged him on and did a little cheer leader dance. I think he’s probably now going to complain that I distracted him. Sometimes you just can’t win with him. A few other friends went past, some of them noticed me and smiled and waved, some of them were so much in the zone that they didn’t notice. I cheered them on anyway.

The night before the RAK half marathon a few of us stayed in a new hotel in RAK – the Cove Rotana (which is lovely by the way) – and we had dinner together. Once again Marathon Man annoyed me. He was talking about himself in such a low way that it wouldn’t even be in the same classification as humble. ‘Bad runners like me’, ‘us slow idiots’, ‘the rest of us that can’t run’ type quotes (to be fair, I can’t remember exactly what he said but it was a few quotes like that). I had to actually tell him to shut up. Remind him that he’s a good runner. That he accomplishes something by completing his races, runs a great pace, keeps on training, keeps in trying to improve, keeps on competing. Disappointingly, I think it fell on deaf ears.

Back to my lively, friendly runner who spotted me before I spotted her. She truly is a lovely lady. She loves her job, aims to improve her education, sets herself great goals in her private life and turly cares about those she loves. She’s a wonderful ray of sunshine in everyone’s lives and always seems to be smiling. But she doesn’t seem to realise how great she is.

Recently she met a guy who sounds absolutely lovely (and gorgeous too). She was indecisive about going to an up and coming event until she found out that this guy was considering going because he heard she was. Despite that, she still feels she doesn’t stand a chance with him! She seems to think that he may be out of her league. She doesn’t realise that she’s so amazing that maybe she may be the one who is out of his league. Maybe he isn’t good enough for her? I don’t know as I’ve not met him. But I know that she is a great lady who deserves a great man and should never think that she’s not good enough for anyone. Here, it seems that she hasn’t set her sights high enough. My friend is proof that you should shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you will land amongst the stars. Where will you land if you aim lower and miss?

But here it is. Here is the point of this blog. Here is the thought of the day. Here is what we should all take from this – the Marathon Man, the Smiling Runner, myself, you, and anyone else you wish to repeat this to…

What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?

Please, live your life like you know you will never fail. After all, attempting something is not failure, it is an accomplishment. If you are to live with regrets, never regret trying, only regret what you do not attempt.