The Pope John Paul II Girls state Championship Cross-Country team after upsetting a three-time defending state champion in their second year with a team.
"The glory of God is man fully alive; moreover, man’s life is the vision of God.” (Saint Irenaeus, 2nd Century AD)
I struggled to keep running as my legs felt heavy, my breathing labored, and I continued mainly on muscle memory. However, I felt happy and grateful to be in this position.
I had reached the 25-mile marker of the Original Ultimate Runner Competition's marathon portion. It was an extraordinary event that included a 10k, 400 meters, 100 meters, a mile, and a marathon on the same day.
Over the years, Olympians ranging from 1500 meters to marathon runners participated in this race. Some of the world's best Ultra Marathoners were a part of it, and future Hall of Fame runners persevered through it.
endurance athletes and super-achievers relished the challenge of the race to
determine the best all-around runner in the world.
No one would have expected some shy, ordinary kid who struggled to be good at anything early in life - not academics, the arts, music, self-confidence, or popularity- to win this race.
Vision blurred, and I was only vaguely aware of the small cheering crowd at the finish; here I was – on the cusp.
Leaning on my faith, I was closing in on the finish line. I felt fully alive and was running on all cylinders that day.
Reaching Your God-Given Potential
Reaching our full potential is about stepping into the life God intended us to lead. My primary mission is to help others believe in themselves and strive to achieve their God-given potential in ways that serve, support, and love others.
In 2024, I plan to share some insights that I have learned throughout my journey that can help others reach their potential. Even though I am just one small voice among many writers, I want to share my experiences to impact others positively.
Well Placed Belief
One of the most significant lessons I've learned in my lifetime, and will discuss further in future stories, is the power of believing in oneself by leaning on God's strength.
When people genuinely have faith in the abilities that they were blessed with, incredible things can happen.
Scriptures also emphasize the importance of belief, such as what Jesus said in the Gospel of Mark: "All things are possible to him who believes" (Mark 9:23).
Similarly, Matthew 19:26 states that Jesus looked at them and said, "For human beings, this may be impossible, but for God, all things are possible."
Believing in the abilities that God has given you is crucial to achieving your goals in life.
The Webster dictionary defines belief as "a conviction of truth."
The truth is that you have been gifted with some remarkable talents. You are responsible for utilizing and developing these talents to their fullest potential.
There Are No Shortcuts To Success
Strong belief is the starting point for reaching your God-given potential, but hard and smart work takes you across the finish line. Nothing worthwhile in life comes easy.
It may sound like a cliche, but it is true - taking the path of least resistance rarely leads to success. To move the mountains of life, you must follow up your beliefs with hard and smart work. There are no shortcuts to success. Thinking that there are seven easy steps to success is ridiculous. Every worthwhile goal in life requires hard work, discipline, and consistency."
As my college coach Marshall Clark said, "Sacrifice and self-discipline are more than mere words to a champion. They are a way of life if you want to be successful at distance running or any other worthwhile goal".
I have coached twelve state high school cross-country championship teams in the last twelve seasons, excluding one year off and the COVID years with no official state competitions.
I've also been blessed to coach the United States Olympic Trials athletes, a world championship Paralympic gold medal winner to a world record in the 200 meters, and Master's athletes to national championships.
I coached in two small faith-based schools with an enrollment of about 95 and 120 students. These students have worked hard to achieve their goals despite limited resources.
Both schools have competed well against schools up to 20 times their size, even though we had no track of our own, few facilities, and limited access to school-affiliated resources like bus transportation systems.
Currently, I coach at a school that does not have a weight room or gym, so I carry my gym equipment in my car. I bring bands, rollers, small weights, and other daily items to and from school. Despite the odds, I feel great excitement when my students win championships for one simple reason.
They believe in their God-given abilities and see that life offers more possibilities, often without the traditional resources many think are necessary for success. The theme of doing your best with the resources you have will be explored deeply in upcoming stories.
As you read the stories I share about my life in 2024, please understand that it is not about me. I have no desire to be the center of attention, nor do I like or want that kind of attention.
My story has relevance only if it genuinely helps you in some small way.
The only reason to write down the stories is to help and serve others. If my story can help you, it would be worthwhile to take the time to write these insights down.
Find A Way With The Hand You Are Dealt
Start by letting go of what you believe is necessary to achieve success, such as money, power, and popularity.
Remember the Bible verse from Philippians 4:13, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
Nobody can limit your potential because God has a unique plan for your life. He created you with a special DNA for a reason.
He would only give you specific gifts with a way to develop those gifts fully.
Lessons From Running Carried Over To My
In upcoming stories, I will discuss how my experiences in running and coaching have influenced my views on business, government, and education.
I will also discuss the difference between success and significance in a career and why significance is the pathway to reaching one's God-given potential.
As I crossed the finish line many years ago, I was crowned the Ultimate Runner after setting a record. However, I knew that it wasn't just my victory.
It was a triumph of faith in what God can accomplish within an individual if they allow Him to work through them. That day's win was a tangible manifestation of the powerful belief that "nothing is impossible for those who believe."
Most people can achieve far more than they realize by fully tapping into their God-given potential.
In my coaching practice, workplace, and other aspects of life, I have repeatedly observed that when individuals combine a firm belief in their God-given talents with diligent and intelligent work, they succeed.
If my story piques your interest even slightly, I welcome you to join me on this journey - All Things Are Possible For Those Who Believe.
Next Post: Chapter One: One Boy Finds His Gift