bringing forth what is within you is mostly about creating the right conditions

The most important of life’s challenges happen outside of the boardroom. They usually happen within us, starting as a tiny morsel of an idea that soon becomes a long-term dream aching to come to life. 

For this week’s letter I want to tell you about a very special challenge and accomplishment that was recently achieved by my sister, Robi, (known to many as Robyn) who has been a special light in my life since I was two years old.

My baby sister had picked this big huge scary goal to run a marathon.  It had become even scarier to her as she had tried to run the Chicago Marathon a number of years ago and 6 miles in… her body shut down.  Months and months of training brought with it many lessons learned on how she might have better prepared.

Not long after this turn of events she began to have some serious foot issues, which included surgery and being told by her foot doctor that her running days were over. He told her the conditions wouldn’t be right for her to ever run again.

She gave in to her “fate” for a few years, but eventually,she naturally found herself drawn to running again. To her delight, this time around she found her feet were in fact ready for the tremendous challenge of accomplishing her dream. 

During Thanksgiving dinner last year, Robi first spoke out loud about the growing idea inside of her to actually go out there and run the New York City Marathon in 2015.

The first barrier she had was getting a bib. There was first a lottery application process allowing in only 18,000 of the 50,000 runners.  She made the decision over the holidays that if she could get a bib, she would commit to doing it! On March 3rd of this year the email arrived, “Get Your New York On – Congratulations.” She was in!! 

The months and months of earnest training began. She was fortunate enough though to find a team of women who really gave her so much strength and courage. Together they each trained for different marathons they were running.

On Sunday November 1st after traveling by plane, cab, ferry, bus, and foot, she found herself at the starting gate of the biggest running event in the country and one of the most exciting moments of her life. A moment that she got to share with 50,000 other excited runners.  She said it was a pretty incredible moment to be sure. As with any special moments in our lives, her head and heart were filled with that special blend of fear and complete joy all in the same time. 

robyn balsley nyc marathon

I have to tell you from my perspective here in Colorado I was so excited for her!  However, I didn’t realize fully how much emotion I had until the moment I turned on the special NYC Marathon app on my phone to see her race progress. 

Seeing her little “RB icon” moving mile after mile at a wonderful pace was a combination of pride and feeling helpless to not be able help her in any way other then send her good vibes.

Over a breakfast debrief she and I had late last week upon her arrival back in Colorado, she shared so many inspiring details to me. The cream that really rose to the top for her was the massive amount of support she received from so many. 

The outreach from those who cared about her - from social media love, to people she met during the 3 hours before the race, to the hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers that lined the route to cheer the runners on. She said it was simply amazing and filled her heart to take every step of those 26.2 miles. 

With 6 miles to go before the finish line, she ached in every fiber of her body. But she was determined to finish the marathon, and did so in 5 hours, 1 minute, and 57 seconds. Her goal was achieved! To add to the whole awesomeness of the situation, she raised $4,200 in the process for the charity Hope House

Over our breakfast she shared with me how she had chosen to thank her husband Bill, daughter Katie, and son Jack for their amazing support.  The morning before they left for the airport to head to NYC she gave them each a card with a gift to thank them.

In the cards she shared with each of them these three elements that gave her the fuel for her fire… 

1) Dream big, anything is possible.
“Everything you want is on the other side of fear.”

2) Enjoy the moments in life.
“It’s good to have an end to journey towards, but it’s the journey that matters in the end”

3) Never lose sight of the strength of our family.
“The only way to get better is to surround yourself with people who believe in you”

So with those wise words of my dear sister I will wish you in the week ahead to look towards your dreams, enjoy the journey getting there, and surround yourself with people who believe in you all along the way. In doing so, you will find the perfect conditions to do what you need to do. 

I would love to hear a special “marathon” that you have achieved for yourself in the comment section below. Here’s to making it happen! 

To Your Successes and Victories, 
- Cheri

Cheri Ruskus 
Author, Business Growth Coach, 
and Founder of the Victory Circles