That title isn’t true, of course. When you’ve crossed the finish line and ducked your head for that race medal, you don’t have to see it to know you’ve accomplished something special. Bask in that. Then put the medal where you can see it every single day.
After my first half marathon I didn’t know what to do with my medal so I put it in a dresser drawer, under my athletic bras. This was not a fitting place to place my medal. The drawer is too high for me to see the bottom and so that medal was immediately out of sight. I’d denied its power to inspire me.
Still, I kept running and after a couple more races I put a hook up inside my closet. Yes, I could see the medals, if I peered past my shirts. Most of the time I don’t turn the lights on in the bedroom and my closet is fairly dark, so they didn’t glint or glitter or call to me from their little hook.
It wasn’t until I’d finished my second marathon that I bought a simple hook rack to put on the wall of my office so my husband and I could display our medals. It isn’t expensive or artsy but it does the job. I can see it from my desk and since it’s right next to the laundry room door, I also see it every time I put a load in the washer. That’s every single day. I have three kids and a running habit, which creates a lot of laundry.
Now those accomplishments wink at me from the wall. They remind me that if I’m willing to work hard, suck it up when things get tough and just keep moving forward, I can achieve my dreams. Running a marathon taught me that but it applies to every area of my life.
While I thought the visible bling might give me an occasional boost, I didn’t expect it would also affect other people. Guests, though rare, notice the rack and comment, usually with an awestruck tone. I smile, because they’re using that tone about something I did.
But one day I truly saw the power those medals hold. My son, who was 9 at the time, was having a difficult day, with tired tears of frustration. After wiping his eyes he pulled a chair to the wall and took all the medals down. I watched in silence as he placed them one-by-one over his head. Then he looked up with a knowing smile. The spark came back to his red-rimmed eyes as he talked about how he, someday, would earn a bunch of medals too.
I told him to work hard for what he wants and I’ll be his biggest cheerleader, whether that’s running a marathon or inventing the next techno-gadget or scoring a goal at his next soccer game. We’re both going to be amazed by what he accomplishes in his lifetime. Who knows what kind of medals he’ll earn? Who knows what kind of medals I have yet to earn?
Do you have something you can see every day that motivates you? What do you most want to accomplish?