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Lessons From a Mudmoiselle

mud run.jpg

Last week I participated in my first-ever Mudmoiselle. My incentive was to raise money for cancer research -- because I am truly tired of losing folks I love to this dreaded disease. In the last 5 years alone, I have known too many people who have had to grapple with the disease in some way. Some were people who have been diagnosed and fought the hardest fight of their lives to try and overcome the disease. Some were supporting those same folks. Some were successful in their fight; others succumbed in the end. And every single person gave every ounce of energy they had, no matter the outcome.  

The Mudmoiselle ended up being far more than I had grappled for. I knew that it was a run for all fitness levels and abilities; that it was an obstacle course; that it would happen rain or shine; that there would be mud. All of that was true.  

What I wasn’t prepared for was how all of that would come together to create an experience that was simultaneously fun, invigorating, and challenging to say the least. Seriously; given that the course was on a ski hill (as in, it was ALL hills, some quite steep!), in 28 degree heat (Celsius), with some crazy obstacles to boot, CHALLENGE was absolutely the name of the game. 

I learned some key lessons while navigating that course, lessons that apply to life and leadership in a variety of contexts. In a nutshell, here’s what came up: 

  1. Fun and challenge are both best navigated with the support of at least one other person.

  2. Sometimes, complete strangers are the ones who will help you remember what you’re capable of -- so let yourself connect with strangers.

  3. No matter what is going on, you really aren’t alone. There’s always someone around to cheer you on. Find your cheerleaders; and be a cheerleader for another.

  4. Fears that are deeply engrained will rear their heads when it’s least convenient. In those moments, find your person -- the one that will help you overcome.

  5. Folks who are truly supportive are NEVER judgmental; they’re encouraging, they’re inviting, they’re respectful -- and you can feel the energetic difference.

  6. Thinking that you’re not capable of something is NOT the same as not actually being capable.

  7. There’s always a way around, through or over an obstacle. ALWAYS.

  8. Keeping your feet grounded and your eyes focused is a great strategy for maintaining forward movement.

  9. Sometimes you just need a break -- TAKE IT!

  10. Taking time to celebrate and acknowledge the small victories along the way is just as important as celebrating the big victory at the end.


Bottom-line: life is filled with obstacles, both real and perceived. Sitting down and giving up in the face of them will not get you anywhere, and will not feel anything other than safe (maybe). So find your person (or people), be prepared to face your fears, and keep moving forward. The celebrations along the way and at the end will make it all worthwhile.