On Tuesday I set a goal. The goal was immediately mocked by my wife and two of our kids.
Taunts were said of
“You’ll never make it.”
“It’s too far.”
“You’ll turn around.”
A part of me began to think they were right. Perhaps my goal would be unachievable. I wasn’t about to give up before setting out. And yes, the goal wasn’t metaphorical- it was an actual thing. I wanted to paddle across the lake to a small island. In a cheap inflatable raft. This was totally doable, right? But it was so far away…
Our middle child decided she wanted to go with me. She was the only one who thought we could make it. I was glad to have the company. Plus if we failed- I’d have someone to fail with (or read that as “blame” if we turned back).
We started off weak. My daughter didn’t have the co-ordation to paddle. She struggled and fought with the water. It took me a lot of explaining to just take it slow and steady while paddling. About a quarter of the way there and it seemed like we had hardly gone anywhere.
At the halfway point was the “make it or break it” decision. We could feel the burn starting in our arms, but it wasn’t enough to deter our progress. We had been paddling for almost an hour at this point. (Mostly because of the slow start.) We then began a percentage countdown together.
“Only 40% left to go.”
“I’d say we are at 25% now.”
“Last push for the final 10%. Let’s sprint.”
Finally we arrived. Sore and thrilled to have made it. We got off the inflated boats and climbed up to our victory. It wasn’t crossing the ocean in a kayak with media hubbub, but to us it was HUGE.
The payoff was euphoric. The views made it all worthwhile. For a small little island, we explored every inch of it. Everywhere we looked, it seemed like a different location; as if we had visited numerous islands. My daughter decided to swim around the island back to the boats. I climbed back up and around, glad to have done what was set out to do.
Our goal accomplished, we left the island behind us. The journey back to our camp went much more quickly. In a little under an hour, we could see my wife and son on the shoreline waiting to greet us with surprise and congratulations.
With my story comes the motivational “After school special” lesson:
Life is full of difficult challenges. Setting your personal goals are exactly that. No one else should deter you from accomplishing these goals. The naysayers will hurt your ego. Some will even love to watch you fail. Screw ’em. Do your damned best.
Make it to your island. Look back to where you started from. The views may surprise you.