Life Lessons

Doing the Hard Stuff

Doing the hard stuff. “The trail is offroad, with a good mix of forest jeep and single track. We will be spending most of our time running under the forest canopy as we navigate our way through the indigenous forest within the Table Mountain’s National Park.”

Analzying this Airbnb experience description after the other participant stated the narrative was precise. I think they left a few words out to describe this run. Allow me to list a few: hard, difficult, challenging. I presume I was a bit overzealous. I recently hiked 3 hours one way to the highest waterfall in West Africa. Evidently, I did not envision the description as I experienced it. Did I get hung up on the word “trail?” Every other word seems a blur.

By the way, I wasn’t a bit intimidated after the guide inquired about our running regimen. The other participant was a slender blonde from Latvia or Lithuania, some country near Russia that starts with an “L”. I need to reread my post on listening. She stated the sole reason she was in South Africa was to participate in a marathon. She regularly participates in races during her travels. Really?!?! To add insult to injury, the guide participates in ultra-marathons (100 km runs). Who are these people?

Imagine me running behind these ultra-athletes, literally. They always seem to be 50 paces or more ahead of me as I viewed them in the distance. Why do I always put myself in these challenging predicaments?

Table Mountain’s National Park forest. Clearly, I was operating outside of my comfort zone.


A personality test by NERIS Analytics Limited, a research and product development company based in London, England, categorized me as a Campaigner. Curious is one strength of a campaigner.

Hmm, did curiosity have any bearing on my decision to join this running adventure?

Well, let’s find out.

“Curious – [Campaigners] want to go out and experience things and don’t hesitate to step out of their comfort zones to do so. Campaigners are imaginative and open-minded, seeing all things as part of a big, mysterious puzzle called life.”

According to this personality test, I enjoy doing the hard stuff, in other words, stepping out of my comfort zone. Partaking in this madness, reliving Wli Upper Waterfall. Huffing, puffing, and trekking in an upward direction over collapsed trees, stones, and streams. I expressed to the tour guide, my thighs were going to thank him in the morning. He interpreted my sarcasm. Lighthearted, he responded with a smile, “pain is weakness leaving the body.”

Trail or Not?

AHA!!!! Profound and worth my agony.

Life Application

Recently, I requested to be appointed as a coach for a Toastmasters club in Atlanta, GA. Toastmasters International is a non-profit educational organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of clubs. For those of you, who’ve been following my life adventure, I’m currently living and traveling abroad. Navigating the time difference alone will be interesting. I’m anticipating a lot of sleepless nights.

Clockwise: Big Ben (London), Eiffel Tower (Paris), Puerta de Alcalá (Madrid)

My role as the club coach is to support and guide the club to achieve Distinguished Club Program recognition. The carrot at the end of the stick for me is Distinguished Toastmaster. Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM) is the highest level of educational achievement in the Toastmasters International organization. Before I can wear the badge of honor, the club has to accomplish at least 5 club goals before June 2020. The clock is ticking. Presently, we have less than 11 months (not counting the holidays) for the club to prance the honorable “distinguished” title.

I think this appointment can be classified as “doing the hard stuff.”

But there’s HOPE

Completing the personality assessment was on time, which has provided me with confidence that I possess the skills to move this club forward and has revealed I will be natural in this coaching role. Campaigners:

-crave creativity and freedom.

look for causes that spark their imagination.

bring energy.

-self-esteem is dependent on their ability to come up with original solutions.

-can apply logic to human interactions and networks, using their exceptional social perception to find out what makes people tick.

Living to Leave Your Stamp on the World

I’m not changing the world by being a club coach (or Am I?) I think of the Apple commercial (2015) narrated by founder, Steve Jobs:

“Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

Running up, down and around Table Mountain’s National Park’s forest with ultra-athletes and being assigned to coach a club to obtain the highest achievement within an organization has taught me a new way of living. Doing the hard stuff will result in pain (and possibly some sleepless nights). The pain signifies weakness leaving the body being replaced by courage, confidence, achievement and the zeal to conquer the world. Stepping outside of my comfort zone is a necessary part of my growth that will aid me in reaching the highest, truest, fullest expression of myself. Join me in “finding yourself,” and discovering new ways of thinking, new ways of working, and new ways of living. You’re invited.

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