Article by Mark Allen
Regardless of whether you are pursuing a fitness goal, striving to achieve something at work, trying to change home life dynamics to be positive or are on a spiritual quest to better yourself, a common thread that can support your journey is having a clear picture of why the efforts have meaning to you. This is what we call in our book “Know and Set Your Quest.”
There is always a picture, feeling, thought or indefinable energy that draws you to take action. The positive form of this is an idea of something that you have yet to embody. Perhaps it is a physical change. “I want to lose weight. I want to complete a race.” It may be emotional. “I want to find something positive even in the toughest moments of my life.” Perhaps it is spiritual in nature. “I am going to take time each and every day to stop and feel the springtime unfolding.” Whatever it was that inspired you to take the first steps toward a goal, remember it. If you cannot recall those initial thoughts or if the original idea doesn’t have meaning, now is a good time to regain an image that does.
Here is an example from my racing career of an evolving goal. Initially my overall driving quest was to win the Ironman. It was a clear goal. Yet it was complex because of the number of valuable facets of preparation that could help me achieve it. But it was worth embracing as many of them as I could. This goal influenced every aspect of my training throughout each season. And indeed in 1989 through the incredibly good luck to connect with the Huichol tradition and Brant Secunda I became that champion.
But then what? Win again? Okay, that inspired me, and I achieved that…a couple more times.
But then what? By 1993 I could see that my quest had to change. “Knowing and Setting Your Quest” is a call to look deep inside and find the picture, thought or focus that has meaning deep in your heart. A good way to gain this perspective is to place yourself at the end of your life and take a look back. What do you want to see? What reasons do you want to see that inspired meaning to do the things that you did?
I saw that “winning” was great, but not really quite the right focus. The quest changed. Through personal reflection and with Brant’s help I dedicated my quest in racing from that point forward to the pursuit of being the best I could be on race day. The placing was secondary. This was Knowing My Quest. It’s a quest that continues today and transcends time, situation or circumstance. What is your quest? What inspires you about your efforts?
What is it about your quests that focus your efforts in a positive direction? These are the things that will carry you far.