Recently I hiked the Camino de Santiago, or The Way of Saint James, which is an ancient pilgrimage route dating back to the 9th century to Santiago, Spain. It is believed that St. James is buried in the Cathedral of Santiago. You can start walking in France, Portugal, or Spain and the total route is over 800 km. It was an enriching cultural and spiritual experience to travel to the countryside on foot, but it is extremely tiring. On average, we walked around 12-15 miles a day.
One day, we were scheduled to walk 20 miles. Although it was a strenuous task, I had already made up my mind that I would make it through the day. When I reached the 20-mile mark, I realized we had 3 miles left to get to our destination for the night. My feet were aching, and I knew something was wrong with them. I kept thinking, I only accounted for 20 miles, how am I going to do 3 more miles?
I was in pain and wanted to stop, but I looked inward for a solution and used my 3P method (pause to pivot to the positive). I knew I had to keep going, and negativity simply wasn’t going to help me get to my destination. “If walking hurts, why not run?” I thought to myself. So, I ran the last 3 miles.
When I passed other people on the trail, they called me a champion and asked me why I was running. Bolstered by their cheers, I felt like Rocky as I ran up the last hill into town. When I took off my shoes, I realized the pain was being caused by a really bad heat rash and two blisters. While these battle scars took a month to fully heal, I was left with a victory that still stays with me: it’s all perspective, I realized. I was in pain, but I only had three more miles to go. I knew I could make it and so I did.
When I returned home, I read the book The Happiness Advantage, written by Shawn Achor. It ended up driving the message home even more: the book explains that mindset is the difference between success and failure. Positive brains actually have a biological advantage over brains that are neutral or negative. Being positive in the present means we are less likely to burnout and more likely to be productive and resilient… and finish the last three miles of the Camino.
This week, I ask you this: What is your Camino? How can changing your mindset help you to finish your last three miles?
Here is the video I shared with my team while I was running my last 3 miles.