En-Listed Opportunity Turns Into Life-Changing Experience

I’m starting to fall in love with the idea of helping people mark things off their life list. It’s taking everything narcissistic about creating a Bucket List – “me, me, me” – and turning it upside down – “you, you, you.”

It’s temporarily taking yourself out of the spotlight and helping someone else reach their hopes and dreams. It’s a completely unique and different way of giving back.
I love it!
I’ve shared this concept with several people, and I’ve gotten a fantastic response. The best yet came in the form of a text message I received last week from my friend, Mike. It said:
“In the spirit of helping people mark things off their list – going to Austin this weekend to run the marathon with a buddy’s visually impaired son. Pretty stoked.”
Mike was asked to run with the young man after someone else had a last-minute conflict. Since he’s a running machine, Mike was able to knock out 26.2 miles on a whim.
That’s what I love the most about helping list makers – it’s an opportunity to use one of your skill sets and/or utilize your network base to assist someone. (It’s not about just bank rolling someone’s dream.)
That’s why I think this concept is so powerful.
Mike is a runner – an ultra-marathoner, to be completely fair and accurate – and he helped a 16-year-old young man who simply wanted to run.
For Mike it was a training run. For Brett Matlock it was a dream come true.
When I asked Mike about the experience, he said:
“The best part was doing a race that was not about me, which was something that I hadn’t expected or experienced before. The joy on Brett’s face through the whole race was an awesome reminder that it’s important to enjoy the whole experience, and it’s not just about the finish line.”
I don’t know Brett Matlock, but there isn’t a doubt in my mind that he’s a remarkable young man. He is the reason that this good story is wonderfully great!

And it’s not because he’s legally blind. It’s because he refuses to make any excuses AND his outlook on life is beyond his years.
(The only thing that kept Brett from running a marathon before last weekend was the age restriction. He told Mike that he’d been waiting for this for 3 years. )
Brett never used his limited eyesight as an excuse when it was time to do his training runs – even the 15-milers he ran on a treadmill.
He never used his disability as an excuse when he was running the five half marathons before turning 16.
During an interview on an Austin news station, Brett offered some stoic advice: “Follow your dreams. Don’t let anyone tell you you’re crazy. Do what you want to do and just try your best at everything you do, no matter what it is.”
Brett’s “best” is pretty impressive. He finished the marathon in 4 hours and 21 minutes, pacing right at 10 minutes per mile. He hit the metaphorical wall at Mile 25, but he pushed through.
He was ready for that moment, though, because this is what he told the news station prior to the race:
“I just say you have to push through the pain to obtain your goals…when someone feels pain whenever they’re running, I say, ‘Just block it out. Just go out there and do it again.’ Pain ends and pride is forever.”

shouldbe proud.So should Mike.
Congratulations to both you guys!

A Gift That Keeps on Giving
(story about Mike and his son’s first birthday)

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