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Ester Marsh: The miracle isn’t that I finished — it’s that I had the courage to start

Remember my new favorite quote from last week’s column? The miracle isn’t that I finished — it’s that I had the courage to start.”

It applies to all aspects in life. Why are we so scared to try something new or set challenges for ourselves?

I have to say, I was lucky growing up in my family where both dad and mom both always felt we should try things. We were all great competitors but my mom’s first question was after a game/match/event: “Did you have fun?”

My dad encouraged me to ask questions: “Ask. You know you have a no, you can always try to get a yes.” So for most of my existence, I have challenged myself in every phase of my life. Definitely in sports and as many people know, also in marriages!

I fight for what I believe in and feel that this world could be such a better place if we accept each other’s values. Too many times, people are scared to try something because of how other people may look down on them if they don’t succeed.

We all know how successful Bill Gates is — co-founder of Microsoft. He failed horribly at his first business but it didn’t stop him from trying again. How about J.K. Rowling, the author of Harry Potter? She was rejected by 12 major publishers before a smaller publisher signed her on.

Did you know that Oprah Winfrey was born to a low-income, single mother and was sexually abused at the age of 9? And when she was hired at a local TV station, she was fired because she was “unfit for TV”?

And the biggest one of them all, Thomas Edison — talk about determination! He failed over 10,000 times before he invented a commercially viable electric light bulb!

So, have the courage to start, whether it is an exercise program, weight loss, an invention or your first marathon.

So what if you don’t get to finish or reach your goal? Not starting at all will undoubtedly get you nowhere.

Set your goal and reach for the stars. My new journey will be to start and finish a full Ironman. Will my body hold up during the training? When I get there, will I be able to finish? I don’t know, but I am willing to take on this new challenge. How about you, are you ready for your challenge?

Success is not final, failure is not fatal. It’s the courage to continue that counts.” — Winston Churchill

Ester H Marsh, Associate Executive Director JF Hurley Family YMCA

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