Serving Others – Episode 3

Welcome to “New Man, New Woman, New Week.”  I’m Ben Newman, and I am fired up, as always, to be with you to light that internal fire to do great things in your life.

Now today, I am really excited to talk to you about serving other people, and I’ve got an incredible story for you about service.

I’ve had some unbelievably powerful women in my life that have had incredible influence–my mother, teachers–but there is one woman I want to tell you about today, truly a remarkable woman, and her name is Teri Griege.

She’s had an incredible influence on my life.  Now Teri is an individual who in her late 40s decided she was going to start training to run Ironman’s.

I mean, this is tough stuff.

This is beating down the body, really challenging yourself.  And not only did she say “I’m going to start running Ironman,” she was thinking really big, just like in your life.

  • Are you setting goals?
  • Are you setting really big goals?

So she said she was gonna finish an Ironman, but then she put down an “I will finish Kona, Hawaii, THE Ironman,” the one that’s on NBC every year.

So she started to train.

You know, if a Navy Seal were to join us right now, they’d say you’ve got to plan your dive and dive your plan.  So that’s what Teri would do.  She would figure out exactly the work that it would take to achieve that goal because you can’t just show up and BOOM the gun goes off and you go and you run an Ironman.

You’ve gotta train.

You’ve gotta be willing to do the work to take it inch-by-inch, and she did that.

So her big qualifier a few years ago was Louisville, and she goes down to Louisville, and she had done the training.  She had prepared her mind.  She knew the nutrition she was going to go through.  She knew everything she had to do.  She ran that race.  She gave it everything that she had, I mean, maximum effort, and she hit that finish line.  She crossed, she completed that Ironman, but she fell just a little bit short of qualification needed for Kona.

Now what do most people do?

How have we embraced adversity in our lives; that challenge of falling just a little bit short?  You see, I’m a big believer that we don’t fail in life; we just don’t always get the results that we want.  See, and that’s what Teri was really doing.  She recognized, I didn’t get the results that I wanted, but I don’t have to quit.

So Teri trained again.  She signed up for Louisville again.  And would you believe she went back?  She did the training; she did the nutrition; she ran that Louisville Ironman.  She got to the finish line.  For the second straight year, she fell short.  But here’s what’s interesting.

Two weeks after falling short for the second straight year, Teri was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer.  What do most people do at that point in time?  Most people change their perspective, change their thinking, change their focus.

Teri never gave up on her dreams.  That’s the inspiration she provides for me.  It’s the way that she embraced that adversity.

So what did Teri do?

She decided, “I’m not giving up.

Just because I didn’t qualify, I’m gonna send an email to the producer of NBC Sports,” see because she knew that once a year, they would pick an inspirational participant to go and run Kona.

So what did Teri do?  She sent that email.

She worded it perfectly, shared her story, shared her heart.  She shared that not only did she want to continue to compete, but now she wanted to fight colon cancer.  She wanted to raise awareness so that people would go and get tested early to help prevent people from dying from colon cancer.

She hit the send button on that email.

The next morning the producer from NBC Sports emailed back.  She didn’t know if he would or not.  He emails back.  They heard more or Teri’s story, and they chose her to be the inspirational participant.

So think about that.  Don’t give up.  Don’t EVER give up on your goals.

Teri went and ran Kona, her big dream.  She crossed that finish line.  One of my favorite pictures, you see it on the internet, Teri Griege; she’s got those hands raised up in the air.  She crosses that finish line, and she had given maximum effort, just like you can in your life regardless of your obstacles.

Now here’s what’s interesting, I decided, as an individual who hates running, that I was gonna run a half marathon a year ago.  So who do you think I called?

Who do you think I looked to do something that I had never done before to learn the habits, just like for you?

There are those advocates, those people that can believe in you, will believe in you.  I called Teri.  Teri taught me how to train, taught me what to eat.

I finished that first half marathon.

The adversity I faced in that one, believe it or not, mile four, I had a woman who blew by me pushing a baby stroller.  I couldn’t believe it.  So why would I continue to run after that?  Then I got crazy, right?  I finished the half.  I called Teri, I want to do a full.

Now I’m really challenging myself, and this was something that at one point in time I said I could never run a full marathon, that’s not me.  Have you ever done that?  Have you ever told yourself that it’s just not possible?  Change your thinking.  Change your state of mind.  I believed in it.  Teri helped me train.  Teri gave me the platform.  Just like there’s advocates that can help you.  And I showed up on that race day.

I was prepared to give it everything that I’ve got.

That adrenaline was pumping and BOOM my gun went off.  And I take off and we’re going through the race.  I get to the 18-mile marker.  The 18-mile marker passes Center Street in St. Louis, Missouri.  I live on Center Street!  It would’ve been easy to make a nice left-hand turn.  Teri was waiting for me at the finish line.  My wife was waiting for me at the finish line.  I could’ve easily sent a text that said, “Meet me at the front porch, I’m done,” but I kept going and I got to mile 20.

Then it became the most physically excruciating experience of my life.  That’s happened sometimes on your journey when you really challenged yourself.  And it was like I was running, this is what it was like, right here, full speed, and I was in so much pain, and I got to a mile and a half to go, and I got to right there on Market Street in downtown St. Louis, and I’m staring at the St. Louis Arch, and there’s thousands of people waiting at the finish line.

You can see it from a mile and a half away.  Now Teri had never met my family, and I had texted her earlier that day that I thought I’d finish about 11:30; we start at 7 a.m., I’ll finish at 11:30.  We were well past 11:30.  When you’re running as slow as I was running, we’re well past 11:30.

And I look off into the distance, and who do I see running at me with a mile and half to go?  Teri Griege.

Teri Griege had run the half marathon to train for the London Marathon.

She ran a mile and a half from that finish line to come and get me, and I’ll never forget it.  She ran out, and she gets right down next to me and she looks up, and she says, “Hey buddy, where does it hurt?”  I said, “Teri, it hurts everywhere.”  She says, “You can do this.  One foot in front of the other.  One foot in front of the other.  One foot in front of the other.  One foot in front of the other.”

Would you believe we turned and she instilled that belief in me?

I know there are advocates who will be on your team when it gets tough for you who are there to serve you, and then you can take that to serve others.  And we ran all the way.

Now I wish I could tell you Teri ran that entire mile and a half with me, but it wouldn’t be the real story.  Because what’s truly amazing is that with 45 seconds left to go, Teri looks up at me and she says, “Buddy, go run your race,” and she peeled off into the audience with the rest of the fans.

See, Teri didn’t run a mile and a half out and a mile and a half back because Teri, the one who was chosen as the inspirational participant, Teri who’s been on the Today Show, Teri who’s the celebrity at these events, it wasn’t a story for her to go, “Oh, I helped this poor guy get across the finish line.”  It would’ve been perfect for the papers.  She did it because she believed in serving other people.

So I’m not sharing a story with you to tell you that I ran a marathon.  I’m telling you a story about a woman that’s had a major impact on my life, just like my mom, just like my wife, just like teachers, just like Teri.  And when you commit to serving other people in your life, surrendering to a purpose that’s bigger than you, and when you commit to serving other people in your life, surrendering to a purpose that’s bigger than you, man, we are fighting to make this world a better place.

You know I get fired up to be with you each and every single Monday.  And next week, before next Monday when we meet again, I want you to think about people you can serve going forward in your life because living is all about giving.  This is “New Man, New Woman, New Week.”  I’m fired up to be in your life to continue to go do great things.

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