The flag at a community center was flying at half mast in honor of Nelson Mandela yesterday during our twelve-mile training session, and it occurred to me that we all have a long walk to freedom. For Mandela, that walk to freedom was a very public road and it became the title of his autobiography. The world watched his transformation from an angry rebel leader fighting oppression and arguing for the justice of his cause in court to an imprisoned icon — a symbol of freedom so strong that his image and name were banned throughout South Africa — to a free and firm negotiating partner, to an elected official presiding over the birth of a new democratic state and guiding its people towards healing and reconciliation and finally to a revered elder statesman.
Most of us don’t face daily insults to our human dignity, nor do we deal with cruel, systematic discrimination like apartheid. Nor do we deal with the pressure and scrutiny of being a public figure. But we often live within the prison of our hurts and fears, and sometimes those prisons of the mind can be very restrictive and limiting. Since a whiplash injury over a decade ago (and many subsequent re-injuries), I have faced the challenges of frequent physical pain and depression. Team in Training has helped me break out of the mindset that limitations are part of my life and develop strategies for accomplishing my goals in spite of obstacles. Not only am I becoming an endurance athlete, but my approach to life has changed due to the coaching we receive about preparing and learning lessons from each outcome, good or bad.
Every week at training, we have a Mission Moment presented by a fellow team member, an honored teammate or another person connected to the program. This week, I gave the mission moment: