Thoughts from the 30th kilometer.....
Your friendly neighborhood IWB Finance Director had lots of time to think this past Sunday...I'm not the quickest runner on the block (two young fellows who live in my hometown of Calgary, but hail originally from Kenya, finished the 42 kms in 2:30!) so I had more than 4 hours to kill while my poor legs did their thing to get me across the line. For any of you that run longer distances, you'll know that your mind often enters a bit of an altered state somewhere in the last third of the race. The legs are saying they are done, but the mind insists that they have to keep going. Somewhere around the 30th kilometer it struck me that my IWB experience is a lot like a long run...
In both adventures, I started out strong, convinced that I was going to qualify for Boston and have hundreds of loans posted within the first twelve months! By the half way mark, doubts were leaping at me from every corner of my mind. What kind of an idiot runs for 42 kms? Why would I think I could get capital to businesses in Ghana when massive government programs and huge foundations had failed? Quitting seems not only the easy choice, but the wise one when the long second half still stretches before you. Then something that I can only describe as magical happens.
You just keep going.
One foot follows the other, you make a few calls, you send a few emails, you put another process in place and you get people to listen and buy in to the plan. Then you get to the 30th kilometer and a serene, cool, confidence settles into every pore. Not only are you going to finish strong, you are going to beat your expectations, you are going to make a difference in the lives of people that want to take their business and and their community to the next level and you are going to make money for your investors while still showing them the satisfaction that comes from investing for a social return.
I've had a preview of what crossing the IWB finish line is going to look like. About 200 meters from the line on Sunday, I broke into uncontrolable tears, but they were cleansing, proud, extremely happy tears. I've never felt better about taking on a challenge and making it happen. The IWB marathon has been a long one and let's not kid ourselves, we still have a ways to go, but I can tell you the reward for staying the course will be worth every step.