Endurance: What Are You Made Of?

Endurance matters. As my husband Brad always says: “Slow and steady wins the race.”

And he’s right.

In this fast-paced, instant-gratification world, there’s still one unbroken rule: Being constant.  This has a direct application to achieving your goals… We cannot ever get what we want by simply hitting the “easy” button.

That button doesn’t exist.

This past weekend, Brad and I went backpacking along Oregon’s scenic Rogue River. In 3 days, I hiked 48 miles carrying 31 pounds of gear on my back as we trekked across very rough terrain that undulated in 6,200 feet of elevation gains and losses.

There was danger, too. Possessing weak knees and bad balance on rocky trails with sheer cliffs with steep drop-offs just millimeters away from my feet posed a very real threat that I might accidentally take a lethal tumble.


One foot wide trail with sheer drop-off below.

But that didn’t stop me. It boiled down to endurance.

“Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, and difficulty.”

– Theodore Roosevelt

Our objective was to reach Rogue River Ranch (at mile marker 23.2) which is a lush, verdant historical site… and a great turnaround destination.

I had in my mind that this was my goal, and nothing was going to stop me from achieving it.

Not hot weather (it was in the high 80’s), nor sore feet, or legs that refused to budge because I was getting charley horses after 5+ hours straight of continuous walking.

I just kept going.

And you know what? I made it, albeit with a monster blister that I named George as a wound marking this particular journey.

By the time we hit the trail head at the end, I was hobbling pretty badly and in severe foot pain.

But my goal / dream had been achieved.

Most of the time, the things we really desire are only achieved through a steady progression of actions, and the key is obtaining them is through maintaining that momentum through endurance.

Keep one foot moving in front of the other. Literally.

Don’t let your mind play games with you (oh, it will try, though!). Given that I had almost 20 hours of hiking time, my mind came up with a bajillion reasons as to why I should stop. Quit. Turn around. Call it a day. Soak my aching feet in the brilliant emerald pool of a nearby side creek.

Looking back, I’ve noticed that for all the tough things we have to do in life, the single thread running through how we make it to the other side complete rests in our faith in ourselves.

We can do it.

Time and again, if we just stick with it, and keep minds focused on the long-term goal while acting in the moment towards that goal, we slowly but surely make it to our goals.

So think about it. What was the last tough thing that you have had to do? What has tested your endurance and made you prove your mettle?

Change jobs?  Ask for a promotion? Tolerate a bad boss?  Target a dream position? Fight through a spell of no call-backs for jobs for which you have applied?

Then consider this: how did you get what you wanted?

My guess is that you made a decision, put together a plan, and then executed that plan.

Doing things slap-dash, in a hurry, never yields the results that we want. It requires a longer-term, methodical approach.

Remember, slow and steady wins the race.

Sure, chances are that we’ll end up with some battle wounds from our efforts.

But the best things in life never come easy. And we should expect some scars as a result of our powering through those endurance tests.

So while I am nursing my giant blister (named George who is residing happily on my left foot), I am also reminiscing about some of the beautiful scenery I just experienced and how awesome this backpacking trip was.

Now it’s time you look at your own scars too, and use those as motivators and reminders that you can, have, and will achieve whatever you want.

You just gotta stick with it.