Cliff Young was a 61-year-old potato farmer in Australia, who decided to compete in the 1983 Sydney to Melbourne Ultramarathon. The race was 544 miles and attracted competitors from all over the country and the world. Real racers knew how to do ultramarathons. They knew how to prepare. They knew that to run this 7-8 day race you were supposed to run for 18 hours and sleep for 6.
That’s just the way it was done. Everyone knew that.
Except for Cliff Young. He didn’t know that. Cliff Young was a farmer… he herded sheep for a living. Cliff Young had no idea how it was done. He showed up on race day in his overalls, with his slow shuffling gait, and was laughed at. “Are you sure you want to run this?” “Are you sure you’re prepared?”
Of course he wasn’t prepared. He didn’t know how to run an ultramarathon. All he had was a vision. He wanted to try. He wanted to test his limits. So he ran. He ran slower than everyone else. But he took his 61-year-old legs and MOVED… in what is now coined the “Young Shuffle.” He trailed the leaders for the whole first day. He trailed so far that he didn’t even know the rest of the competitors had stopped to sleep.
And while they were sleeping… Cliff Young shuffled right past them. And he never stopped.
Cliff Young won the Sydney to Melbourne Ultramarathon and beat the previous record by two full days.
How? Because Cliff Young wasn’t bound by preconceived limitations. He didn’t know “how it was supposed to be done.” He didn’t know “how everyone else did it.” He didn’t know what limits others placed on themselves, such as “you can only run for 18 hours and then you have to sleep for six.” Cliff didn’t know that. And therefore he wasn’t limited by it.
So what’s limiting YOU? Have you been told you’ll never make it? Have you been told you’re not good enough? Do you tell yourself there’s no way you can lose that weight? Have you told yourself there’s no way you can uproot and move to the place you dream of? Have you told yourself that you’re stuck at your job that you hate and there’s no way you can get out of it? Do you tell yourself your spouse will never change or there’s no way you can save your relationship?
Those are limits. And they are completely FALSE. You are designed for greatness. You are designed to make an impact. You are here for a PURPOSE, but if you succumb to your preconceived limits…
you will always fall short.
A few years ago I completed my very first Spartan race, and one of my biggest takeaways was the realization that I gave up on myself FAR too quickly. I succumbed to my preconceived “limits.” I didn’t really give it my all. I didn’t really leave everything I had on the course. When I came up to the 8-foot walls, I tried a time or two to pull myself over, and then looked to my hubby for help. But afterward I kicked myself. I knew I could have done it. I knew I gave up too soon. I knew that if a bear was chasing me on the other side of that wall… I would have ran faster, jumped higher, and FIGURED OUT how to pull myself over that thing.
So where are you giving up too soon? Where have you given up on your vision for you life? Where, if you’re really honest with yourself, have you just settled for “how things are done,” and are not even TRYING to push yourself. Cliff Young was 61, he was wearing rubber boots, and had no idea how to complete a race of this caliber… but he just started shuffling.
So determine where you want to be in your life, and just start shuffling.
– Dr Liz