There will come a day in every entrepreneur’s life or business where they entertain the option to quit and take the path of least resistance. It is in those most difficult times, those great leaders dig deep, make a shift, and remember WHY they started their journey in the first place.
Perhaps one of the biggest stories emphasizing the power of knowing your “WHY,” is the story of Dick Hoyt. When his son, Rick, was born, the doctors diagnosed him as being a spastic quadriplegic with cerebral palsy. Rick, a spirited soul, was confined within a body that could not walk or talk and yet, in the middle of his challenges, his mind was alive with passion and dreams of his own.
In 1977, despite his physical limitations, Rick used his computer to tell his father that he wanted to run in a 5-mile benefit race for a lacrosse player who became paralyzed from an accident. Realizing his son’s deep hunger to run, Dick, who was far from being a long-distance runner, agreed to be Rick’s legs and push him in his wheelchair for the 5-mile race. It required specialized equipment, training, and grueling effort. However, Dick pushed through the challenges and finished the race, coming in next to last. That night, with complete joy, Rick typed another message to his father that read, “Dad, when I’m running with you, it feels like I’m not handicapped.”
Today, Dick and his son have completed over 1,100 races, including 72 marathons and 6 Ironman triathlons. Their story has become known around the world as one of the most selfless stories of a father’s love. Dick’s WHY is what drives him to face the pain to be his son’s legs and create a message of hope to millions.
When running their races, you hear the Hoyts coming long before you see them. In 2014, with Rick being 52 and Dick being 73, they ran their final Boston Marathon race and the cheers for this father/son duo could be heard by thousands. Although neither one of them have broken any records regarding distance or time, Rick and Dick Hoyt deserve every bit of the applause they received from the crowd.
1. Humility – Dick Hoyt is an example of humility in action. His selfless love was seen for years as he gave up his agenda to serve the love and passions of his son.
2. Perspective – Many doctors encouraged the Hoyts to institutionalize Rick, informing them that he would be nothing more than a “vegetable. His parents, however, chose a different path and their perspective of hope would pave the way for millions to believe that disabilities don’t have to confine your possibilities.
3. Risk – After their first five-mile run, Dick started running every day with a bag of cement in the wheelchair because Rick was at school and unable to train with him. His dedication to fitness opened the door for a significant number of races to be completed and so many lives to be impacted in the process.
When you consider your goals, what is it that will drive you beyond pain, persecution, opposition and failure? What is your WHY? When challenges occur… and they will, what will be the driving force behind the SHIfT you will have to make to succeed?
If you can attach the dream in your heart to a very clear purpose for why you hope to achieve it, your ability to sustain through adversity will significantly increase. That is why so many “cause” driven leaders succeed. They see their success directly tied something bigger than themselves that affects others in a profound and transformational way.
What do you want that you don’t currently have? Why is is so important to you? Is it something you are willing to sweat for, stay up day and night for, or even die for? What is that “something” that drives you to push past the point of pain, even when the odds are stacked against you?