Yesterday, I wrote about some of the failures and setbacks that I’ve faced and dealt with over the past 18-24 months.
Read that before you read this.
It might help if you’ve ever sat on the floor of your apartment staring at a wall, feeling hopeless and wondering what to do next or slept on your mattress on the floor for a month after you moved apartments because you didn’t have the mental capacity to put your bed together.
Yeah, all that happened.
But, like with any good story, the question is:
What’s Going to Happen Next?
Table of Contents
Here’s what’s NOT happening: I’m not quitting, and 777 is not over.
Here’s where we stand:
Throughout the past few months, we’ve still been fundraising quite a bit and we’re making good progress!
We’ve raised over $39,000 – almost enough to build 2 schools already (with a lot more on the way).
I’ve also run 2 races (count-em, TWO!). I hate talking about stuff before I actually do anything, so last month, I quietly ran the Chicago Ultra 50k to mark race #2 off the list (more on this in a second). I wanted to jump back into things and figure it out for myself. However, I’ll be sharing more about this race AND a video tomorrow!
That means North and South America are done. 2 continents down. 5 Continents to go!
My goal is to finish 3 by the end of the year and then the rest in early 2017 – finishing before my birthday in April.
Starting Again (in 3 Steps)
If there’s anything I hate, it’s people who make false commitments again and again and don’t follow through.
Lots of people start stuff. But it’s how you finish that matters.
That’s not a very impossible mindset and not something I intend on becoming. I’ll walk these ultras if I have to 🙂
Reminder: how you do anything is how you do everything.
So I’m doing 3 things beyond the ultra to make sure WE GET THIS DONE.
#1: Running Another Race
As I mentioned above, I ran another race without telling anyone.
Sometimes you have to climb a mountain and not tell anyone. I needed to know where my head was at and what I was doing this for and re-establish my relationship with running.
So, I went to the first ultra I ever ran (the Chicago Ultra 50k) and did it again. 31 miles. 50 kilometers. It wasn’t necessarily pretty, but I got ‘er done and got back into the ultra state of mind. It was a bit of a shock to the system and I needed it to jolt me back into things. I’m sharing a video about this tomorrow, so stay tuned for that.
North America DONE
That means 2/7 races are finished. North America & South America.
#2: Building a School NOW
I also wanted to reaffirm the commitment to the fundraising. The running is one aspect of the challenge but the entire goal is to help raise awareness and give back to people who actually face impossible things like a basic education or a place to learn.
Also, since IMPOSSIBLE is about leading through example, we’re going to donate $25,000 off the bat to the project to get things back on the right foot and fund one school today – to put our money where our mouth is.
That brings the total funds raised to $64,0000 or in other terms – 2 1/2 schools done.
#3: Doubling YOUR Impact Through DECEMBER
The third thing I wanted to do was to reaffirm the idea that IMPOSSIBLE is more than just me. It’s the community of people like YOU that commit to pushing yourself, living an impossible life and giving back as well.
In our first school, the majority of contributions were $10-$25 amounts. That’s huge. We built a school with micro-donations. That’s awesome.
I want to encourage that again, that’s why for the next month (through December 31st), we’ll be matching any donations to through the project up to $30,000. That means that any donation you make now through the end of the year DOUBLES your impact and helps even more kids out there get an education and do something impossible.
I’d love to build a school through community contributions by the end of the year and would love even more to DOUBLE that impact.
The cool part about this is you can make a lot of massive change with small donations ($10, $25, etc). It doesn’t have to be big. Zero doubled is still zero, but even small contributions will add up. Just like life.
Note: If you’d like to make a donation over $1,000, please email me and let me know – I’d love to chat and do something special for you, just shoot me an email and we’ll make it happen.
Wrapping It All Up
I’ve always said with races that, “I might not be the fastest, but I finish what I started.”
90% of the battle of the race happens when you decide in your mind that it’s going to be completed. After that, all you have to do is do it.
Now, there’s always unpredictable things that can happen and slow you down, but if you decide to finish, you will. It’s when your mind wavers that you lose.
As you might have guessed over the last couple posts, I never imagined the ways that this would stretch me when I started out, but it took me to a couple dark places and I have learned a lot.
But, after all the lows and the valleys, I’m still moving forward. Step by step by step.
And in a weird way, I’m sort of glad it happened. After all, if it was easy, it wouldn’t be nearly as good of a story.
The New Schedule
Because of the unexpected events, the dates and races have changed, but the goal is the same.
7 ultras. 7 continents. 7 schools. And, the cool part is we have 2/7 of those done!
The updated and upcoming race list currently is. Dates are subject to change, but this is the current plan:
- Narrabeen all night, 12-hour marathon – Sydney, Australia
- Antarctica Ice Marathon – Union Glacier, Antarctica
- The North Face 50 Thailand – Thailand, Asia
- Rovanieme 50k – Finland, Europe
- Two Oceans Marathon – South Africa, Africa
You can checkout the new schedule for 777 here.
Help Us Build a School
From the start, 777 was about giving back out of our own opportunities. 100% of the donations go directly to the projects and you don’t have to worry about “waste” being a factor with Pencils of Promise. They’re the real deal.
We’re building a school. I’d love for you to be a part of it.
You can join the 777 Campaign Here
If you’re reading this, thanks in advance for reading along, contributing, and to all the people who’ve been writing in wondering what’s going on. I really appreciate it.
Ward Luthi says
Hi Joel – thank you for sharing all the real parts of attempting to live life fully. The Journey is indeed what it’s all about, and I love hearing about the adventurous journeys you’ve mapped out for yourself. Your “steps along the way” remind me that sitting on the sidelines never took us anyplace. You’re a living inspiration for all of us and a great reminder that sometimes it truly does take one step at a time.
Angela Passaro says
Those three words you repeat over and over, “do the impossible” are keeping me going. Keep it coming. Thank you.
Mark Hoover says
I’m a starter. I’ve been a finisher less, but I’ve done it. So often though I decide the reward isn’t worth it and quit. Only recently has it all started to pile on though. I am finally realizing all the completion I’ve regretted not achieving.
In hindsight I try to justify. I try to soothe myself with my few accomplishments. Of course that’s not working so I fall back to negativity, frustration and anguish.
Recently I started really reading and absorbing your blog. It’s highly inspiring of course, but also provides a needed element of humility I don’t see much. It’s kind and genuine of you to share that sometimes bad things happen, stress happens, even to the enlightened gurus of the world.
Everyone falls down. How you get up…IF you get up…matters.
Thanks again for your words!
A few years before my grandmother died in 1998 , I asked her what is the most important thing, in your life, that your father told you. She said “nothing is impossible.” It’s hard to live by this adage, but I try.
Hey Joel! Happy to see you back. Thanks for getting so straight about your past months – reading how you didn’t let yourself to give up is totally energizing like a sparkle in my own goals’ battle. Cheers!