I watched the Everglades Challenge last week. It’s a race down the Gulf coast of Florida, from Fort Desoto at the mouth of Tampa Bay, to Key Largo in the Keys – 300 miles total with an 8-day time limit.
What makes this race so special is that all challengers are in small watercraft ranging from stand-up paddle boards, to kayaks and canoes (with or without small sails), to windsurfers and small sailboats. There is even an electric boat category. It’s also expedition-style, which means all supplies have to be with them, and they camp as-needed along the way.
Now you understand why it’s called a challenge.
Much of the course is down the Everglades coast, or right through the Everglades via the Wilderness Waterway and Florida Bay. Either way, that entire section of Florida is completely remote; No roads, no electricity, no cell service, and no human beings (except an occasional boater). There is also no support from race organizers. It’s just you, the water, the mangroves and islands, and all kinds of wildlife - Including gators, raccoons, snakes and relentless mosquitoes.
The completion-rate of this event is evidence of its difficulty. Whether it’s the result of equipment failure or any other problems, about 60% of participants never finish. The remaining 40%, on average, do reach Key Largo each year. Surprisingly, most keep coming back year after year, working toward completing the course. I’m guessing their determination is more a matter of achieving the goal, than it is about racing against other participants. It would be for me, anyway.
The longest I’ve sailed was about 48 miles on a friend’s Hobie 21 beach catamaran. That distance, alone, can make for a long day (depending on weather conditions). I can’t imagine going six times as far, even with the effort spread out over several days.
Or… could I?
When faced with challenges that at first seem insurmountable, whether physical or mental or both, I have to take a different approach. I think of at least one easy beginning step to take – something I’m fully capable of doing – and I take it. Then I take another, and another, and another, until suddenly the goal has been accomplished – almost without me realizing it.
This idea is nothing new. It’s been described in many ways by many people. Still, we all need to hear it. As the late Zig Ziglar used to say, listening to motivational messages is like bathing, you need to do it on a regular basis in order for it to be effective. He hit the nail on the head. We all need to hear this.
So, what kind of challenge are you facing?
Do you have a goal you would like to achieve, but it seems impossible?
Do you want more clients in your law practice?
Do you want higher-income clients?
What is it going to take, in order to get them? A big change in your referrals, your appearance, your offices, etc?
Your challenge is probably a combination of many things, so if you’re thinking it’s too much to tackle all at once, you would be right. Time to step back and divide it into smaller pieces.
Choose only the pieces you’re capable of achieving immediately, and do them. Right now. Without hesitation. Put everything else aside, and accomplish only what you’re currently capable of accomplishing.
Once those initial pieces are off your list, turn your attention to the next most-achievable ones. Tackle them. Repeat.
Continue this process until you have no more pieces, even if that means getting help along the way, or taking longer on some parts than others. Before you realize it, your goal will be within reach.
I have a feeling you’re going to surprise yourself!