Okay, good question. It's essentially the sum of a series of little nudges I've received in the past couple of years.
A year or so back I was presenting to a faculty at the University of Sydney. At the conclusion of my talk, I asked for any questions or comments. And - no joke - the first comment from the floor was, "Geez mate, you've put on a few kilos since your Twitter photo was taken."
Oh how we laughed. Actually it was kind of awkward as those in attendance assumed I must have planted him in the audience, I mean, seriously who says that? But I hadn't. So there you go.
In the last 12 months in particular, I began to notice how my approaches to training and my nutrition really started to slide.
My schedule is such that I can be in 3 different states (or countries) every week , and travel can take its toll on your body.
Flights, late check-ins and early starts are not a great mix if you want to keep fit, and all too often it just seems too hard.
In June this year I found myself speaking in London, and caught up with my best mate. We'd played rugby together growing up, but he suffered a pretty nasty injury which resulted in pins and other bits of metal being required to hold his leg together. This was in our early twenties. Now I've had my fair share of footy injuries and - to be honest - I've used them as a reason as to why I can't run long distance. The longest I've run is the City 2 Surf a few times (14km) and I've also done the Sydney to Wollongong bike ride (90km) once. But y'see I just can't handle much more than that. Injuries.
But this argument loses power when seeing what my mate's been up to. He regularly competes in triathlons, runs marathons and just a few weeks back he completed an ultra marathon called the Gritstone Grind (56km) for which the organisers don't even have the decency to organise roads! You have to run on trails, making it even harder! My mate did it in 8hrs.
Add to that, my lil sister recently completed a Tough Mudder having only started training recently. Her phone-calls and Facebook updates during her training were inspiring.
And then there's the message I've been delivering to students and staff around Growth Mindset and the behaviours that result from (or contribute to) a Growth Mindset.
- Embracing challenges
- Persisting in the face of setbacks
- Revelling in the struggle
- Learning from feedback and criticism
- Being inspired by others
I then ask, "Who could never run a marathon?"
Invariably, over half the room put up their hands.
So I tell the story of my Uncle John. He was 52 when he had a severe heart attack. Faced with some serious life challenges he gave up smoking and drinking and embarked on an exercise plan. He discovered he loved running. He's now 77 and since having his heart attack he's run over 400 marathons.
I then encourage those present to realise that assuming they received the right medical, nutritional and training advice and had appropriate equipment of course most of them could run a marathon,
But of course there are some of us - for whatever reason - who actually might not be able to complete 42kms.
But I do believe - assuming we had all the appropriate strategies in place, and exhibited the behaviours outlined above - in 3, 6, or 12 months time, whilst some may not complete a marathon, every single one of us would be able to run better than we can today.
And that's why I believe it's called the Growth Mindset, not the Guaranteed Success Mindset.
But here's the kicker.
I genuinely am of the opinion that I CAN'T run a marathon - ever.
So I'm going to take the advice of Carol Dweck and say, y'know what, I can't run a marathon YET.
But I'm gonna try.
As well as talking the talk, I'm going to attempt to walk the walk and then run the run.
And that's what this blog's about. Seeing what I can learn about mindset, change and motivation whilst - hopefully - getting a little bit fitter!
Wish me luck!