It was gripping as it was inspiring. On all fours and her chin she crawled. Deep inside her, she knew she had to finish. Why? She had conditioned her mind to fight to the end. Quitting was not an option.

As 29-year-old Hyvon Ng’etich pushed through the pain barrier, I was in tears. The determination written on her face was beyond description. Yet she crawled herself to a third position finish! Her courage and determination won the hearts of many. The Austin Marathon race director even adjusted her prize money to reflect a second-place finish.

We are all faced with different ‘marathons’ in life. Career, family, business, education… the list is endless. We may struggle away and then hit a wall. The situation seems bleak or untenable. Self-doubt kicks in and we are ready to throw in the towel.

The last few months have been very tough. My mind has gone through many spins and turns. It has been a gruelling time designing content for ‘Leadership Safari’. This an online course I am about to launch. Doubt, fatigue and writer’s block have hit me, sometimes all three at the same time.

Hyvon’s story came at just the right time. And we all can draw three leadership lessons from it.

1. Your mindset is everything

Just because you are there doesn’t mean you have to remain ‘as-is’. Mindset is your established set of attitudes towards life people and situations It is your philosophy of life Your mindset is what provides you with the incentive to adopt or accept prior behaviors choices or tools.

Evidently Hyvon had prepared for the marathon She was leading by a clear 500 meters before her physical body crashed But her mind did not Her attitude to race to the finish propelled her body to go way beyond its limitations.

Running always you have to keep going going…” ~Hyvon Ngetich

2. Never doubt your possibility

Approach life with a ‘can-do’ attitude Possibility helps unveil your ability to do something. Knowing that something could happen gives us optimism. And that affects how we tap into out potential. It also provides us an avenue to inspire others who can bridge our inability, weaknesses or shortfalls.

Hyvon can’t remember what happened in the last two kilometers of the race. But she can remember the lady with the wheelchair. She was highly aware of her predicament. Knowing that someone was there for her when she was most vulnerable spurred her on.

There was all this logic around us telling us to stop, but there was something inside us that we couldn’t ignore.” ~Joe Gebbia (Airbnb)

3. Condition shouldn’t limit your ambition

You will find yourself in an unconventional situation. It will not make sense to others. But you mus have the determination to protect your integrity. Remember that your mindset is everything. You will encounter situations where others question your ability, your age conflicts with experience or your status with position.

On her knees, Hyvon triumphed! It was the most unconventional way I have seen anybody finish a marathon. It was not how but how strong she finished. Her body was battered, but her mind was strong.

They saw the effort., they saw the spirit, and that hard-wired commitment to get to the finish,” ~John Conley, Race Director (Austin Marathon)

I am battered and tired. It feels like I am down to a crawl. If that us what it takes, I will crawl with courage. Hand over knee to serve. A leader always keeps his eye steadfast on the goal, the prize.

Are you crawling through some challenging times? Click here and share your experience and how you will use these three lessons to get you to the finish line.

photo credit: Tough Mudder via photopin (license)

Source: Sometimes It Takes A Crawl To Win

About Kimunya Mugo

I have worked in the not-for-profit sector for over 15 years. Trained as a scientist (horticulture), I have always loved leadership and communication. However, it was not a direct transition. I was kind of ‘pushed’ into it when my first boss put me in charge of developing my first website back in 1999 (by the way, I had no clue how to do it!). In a month, it was up and running.

My last day job was as Regional Director for Communication & Branding of WWF in eastern and southern Africa. This was by far the toughest position I had ever held. But through it, I learned the most valuable lessons in leadership, working with teams spread over six countries. Before that, I worked in a variety of roles for three other organizations (see full profile).

I have also been a coach of some very critical leaders in society, parents! Since 2007, my wife and I have coached hundreds to become better leaders at home.

I am married to my best friend Harriette since 2004. We have three children and make our home in Nairobi, Kenya.

Kimunya's latest Meddles

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