To this day I can still remember how I felt, both physically and emotionally, after completing my first half marathon.  Soaking wet from the rain and a bit sore, I had accomplished something I never imagined I would do.  Despite the aches and pains, I felt strong physically; mentally I felt even stronger.  Believe it or not, it just felt good.

I wanted to race again.  There really is such a thing as a ‘runner’s high’, and it had me on cloud nine.  People would ask what it felt like, and it’s one of those life phenomena that I can’t explain.  Physically, I knew I could perform better.  Mentally, I had a better understanding of how to push through barriers.  Emotionally, I wanted to be in that racing environment where the only feelings at the end are ones of accomplishment in doing what 99% of other people aren’t doing.

All things considered, it was the overall experience I received from being drenched in rain from start to finish, all the while being alongside 25,000 other crazy people doing the exact same thing I was.  Had my first half marathon not went well, it’s hard to say whether or not I would be planning to run 2-3 more marathons this year in addition to a 50 mile ultramarathon.

This concept is not applicable to physical challenges such as running a race, but rather every single activity that we participate in – every choice that we make every day of our lives.  The experiences we have or provide are in direct correlation with the choices we make.

Here’s how…

Personally

For example, if you want to have a hobby that allows you to separate yourself from the daily ‘chores’ you often find yourself caught up in, then you are likely to choose something that you enjoy.  Why do you choose it?  Because you enjoy it, and it makes you feel good.

It might be rebuilding an old car because you are a hands on person and there is a challenge associated with it that you want to overcome.  After completion, you know there will be a feeling of gratification when looking at the finished product.

Professionally

So, there is an account that you have been working for months and months.  You have made weekly phone calls and left voicemails, but never received a response.  Or, provided several proposals to no liking.  Uncertain as to whether anything will pan out, you continue to be persistent.  Because it’s all done for the day when you receive that phone call or email saying, “Here is your opportunity.”  It’s that experience, and those feelings that propel you forward.

On the flip side, when you are able to deliver on an opportunity, be prepared to do it well.  Do it well enough that it causes your new customer to never want to rely on anyone else.  Allow them to experience the same rewarding feelings as a result of your hard work, that you received in merely having an opportunity.

Physically

Being fit, by eating healthy (most of the time!) and exercising my body, is something that I take pride in.  I often get asked the question, “Why do you run so much?”  Or, “Why do you eat healthy?”  To be honest, it makes me feel good.  It’s overcoming the challenge of having enough willpower to say no to things that are hard to resist.  Sitting on the sofa and watching TV can be hard to resist when it’s 30 degrees and snowing outside.  Eating fast food for lunch is easy to do when on the road a lot.

To be quite honest, I would feel lazy if I sat on the couch all day, and I would feel like shit if I ate Big Mac’s for lunch Monday thru Friday.  Instead, I overcome the challenge of these temptations and do the training run in the cold.  I pack a salad and healthy snacks to eat while on the road.  Why?  Because it makes me feel good.

The Common Denominator

Regardless of the experience and regardless of which part of your life it reaches, every choice you make has a commonality.  It isn’t the fact that you have the ability to choose, but rather the feeling that your choice provides you.  Albeit bad for yourselves in certain circumstances (abusing drugs, eating unhealthy, etc.), each of your decisions is made because it will, or you think it will, make you feel good.

Whether the good feelings are physical, emotional or mental, they are gratifying – and will keep you coming back for more.  So, do you want to improve your personal life?  Find something productive to do that you have a passion for.  Would you like to see better results at work?  Provide an unmatched customer experience that no one else is offering.  Physically, you want to be healthier?  Begin with baby steps and celebrate small victories and weight losses.

In essence… Do things that make you feel good.  Provide something that fills a need for someone else.  Alleviate pains by creating opportunities.  Opportunities can be won, and winning will make you feel good!

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