"You know you're following the right path as an entrepreneur when..." is not one of the easiest sentences to finish, especially when the last four weeks of your life have been a blur:
writing... meetings... podcasts... writing... more meetings...
That's a rough guide of what whizzes through my head when I try to think of the beginning of my journey as an entrepreneur. It's been exciting, scary at times and I've had my fair share of lessons (already) along the way.
But last Thursday, as I stood on the lush green lawns beside Melbourne's (we're talking about Australia here) iconic Tan Track, I felt incredibly lucky. As I stood still on a chilly but perfect Melbourne morning with the sun warming my back, I looked around at the people who surrounded me and felt lucky to be part (in my own small way) of such an incredible team.
The Duke of Edinburgh's International Award in Victoria has been running for over 50 years, helping nearly 150,000 young people, driving them to become empowered community members capable of going on to become some of tomorrow's best leaders.
None of this would be possible without the Duke of Ed Victoria staff and the volunteers that surrounded me last Thursday.
One of the cornerstone events the organization hosts each year is Le Tour de Le Tan, a one-lap sponsored race that gives schools the chance to make a difference to the lives of young people by helping to raise funds for The Awards Funding Assistance Program (AFAP).
The event itself gives school kids the chance to tackle the 3.8km Tan Track and acts as a reminder to us all that we can make a difference. We were spoilt by the presence of special guest Clint Stanaway, Sports Presenter for Channel 9 News Melbourne, who was a fantastic ambassador and role model for all of the kids who attended. As the first buses arrived and the steady flow of students started trickling towards the lawn, all bets were off and after a quick warm-up led by Clint, the race was well underway. Let's make no mistake here, running The Tan is no walk in the park -- it's an achievement to run out the track.
All of the kids put in a fantastic effort on the day and of course, first, second and third places were awarded. But as I stood at the finish line last Thursday, holding one side of the red ribbon as the kids trickled through it one-by-one, I came to this realization:
Everyone who crossed that finish line was a winner.
Sure, some may have run it out faster than others, some even just walked the whole track... but everyone at the event was supporting something greater than themselves.
So to all of the kids and staff members from the participating schools - St Helena Secondary College, The Mac. Robertson Girls' School, Brunswick Secondary College and Port Phillip Specialist School -- a massive thank-you!
As I watched some of the kids really struggling to cross that finish line, I was reminded of a quote that has helped me to find contentment on my journey so far:
"Doing your best is more important than being the best." -- Zig Ziglar
So, back to finishing the sentence I started this piece with (I added in my own little creative change as well):
You know you're following the right path in life when... you can look in the mirror each day and know you're running to the finish line with everything you have.