3 must-haves to start a charity

Recently I connected with Amelia Dickerson and Michael Oliva to startup the newest chapter for Achilles International. Both Amelia and Michael are driven and motivated to expand and grow Achilles wherever there is demand or need for adaptive sport programs. I was lucky to be invited to help build a program, be part of the journey and learn a lot along the way.

Here are 3 essential must-haves I’ve learned over the past 8 weeks by working with smart, passionate people, turning an idea into a sustainable community for athletes of all abilities.


“Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes; but no plans.” ~Peter Drucker

CommitmentCommitment of a few can spread to many. It’s about showing up when conditions are less than ideal and at times we’re not 100%. Whether it’s playing an active role or being there to support others, commitment matters. The more people commit themselves to a cause or purpose the more that initial passion turns into a movement.

Embrace challenge

“Don’t give up! It’s not over. The universe is balanced. Every set-back bears with it the seeds of a come-back.” ~ Steve Maraboli

challengeTurning an idea or concept into something tangible is not easy. There’s challenge in experimentation, building awareness, overcoming barriers and finding the right ingredients to make it all work. Some things stick, some things are lessons along the way. A challenge today could be a lesson that leads to success tomorrow. Find joy in the challenge.

Lean-on others

Scott Jurek - Achilles

Scott Jurek guiding at the BoulderBOULDER10k

Had a blast guiding a blind runner, Luanne, in the BolderBOULDER 10k this morning! She did awesome, finished in 48:08, 5th place in her age division (52yrs)! Thanks to Achilles International for the opportunity.” ~Scott Jerek

A movement is started by early followers, not the leader. Find other people and groups to champion your effort, it’s critical. In a few short weeks we’ve had an overflow of support from the running community, city council, other adaptive sport programs and local businesses. People genuinely want others to succeed and help when given the opportunity. Lean on those people.


The Leadville Journey

The dust has settled, a major goal achieved and what remains is the reflection of an epic journey.

Leadville is more than just a Colorado mountain town, it’s a place where a dream was created and achieved. Training for and running the Leadville 100 provided lessons that transcend many areas of life. The “race across the sky” is one of the toughest endurance challenges and 100 mile runs in the world. Running for nearly 28 hours start to finish and the months leading up to race day taught me a lot more about life than it did about simply putting one foot in front of the other. Here are a few lessons that stuck and resonate in my thoughts and life.

Enjoy the journey

Focus on the magic of today, not just the finish line. Preparing for a race like Leadville required countless hours training, sometimes with great friends and other times in complete solitude. I loved both. Being mindful of the present allowed me to connect on a much deeper level with each experience and person while working toward my goal.

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Small wins

Setting small, achievable goals and recognizing progress is critical to success. This ranged from distance covered, hours trained or staying in the positive. The byproduct of these small wins didn’t just mean I ran further or faster it meant I performed better at work, had higher energy levels and was genuinely a happier person.


Find (or build) a tribe

The support of family and friends helped me get to the start and finish line. Many thanks to my Aunt Pam, Uncle Richie, cousins Lauren and Erin who never stop cheering for me. Being on the Mountain Peak Fitness team allows me to train with the kindest, most talented endurance athletes who are more like family than friends. This community provided both inspiration and accountability that enabled me to push through some long, grueling training days and a very punishing race.

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Believe in yourself

Heart, pure grit and determination can overcome any mountain or obstacle. Knowing you are capable of achieving greatness is the key ingredient. The power of a strong network will help you succeed but the only person who can achieve your goal is you.

LT100-Hope Summit

Never give up

The finish line didn’t come to me. Knowing I came too far to quit regardless of what my mind or body was telling me was a pivotal point that kept me moving relentlessly forward. Struggle and feelings are temporary, how I reacted during tough times ultimately determined the outcome. I constantly reminded myself that the challenges and barriers are what make dreams worth achieving.

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Do you have a lofty goal? If so, what are you doing to get yourself to that start and finish line? Only you can make your “impossible” vision possible, go achieve it.