“All who have accomplished great things have had a great aim, have fixed their gaze on a goal which was a high one, which sometimes seemed impossible.”

~ Orisen Swett Marden

There’s nothing quite like getting up before the sun to really conquer the day. Last week this truth was particularly relevant because I got up at the crack of dawn to interview a person who has conquered all kinds of challenges. Martin Parnell is a 5-time Guinness World Record holder, world class endurance athlete and philanthropist, and he has written two books about his adventures and exploits. Martin is a friend and fellow speaker who I call the Goals Guru …and was excited to hear what he had to say about how to recharge work and life. Watch the video below, or read the transcript that follows!

Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Martin Parnell. I work with organizations and individuals to develop a “finish the race” attitude, setting goals, overcoming obstacles to achieve your full potential. I’ve been doing it for around 6 years, and I’m a keynote speaker and author.

In 2010 I ran 250 marathons in one year to raise $250 000 for the children’s charity Right to Play, and it was to help kids around the world.

So, why did you get into running?

I got into running at the age of 47 and the only reason I started was because my brother Peter challenged me to a marathon. And prior to that, I did not run.

After Marathon Quest you just kept setting new endurance goals. What else have you done?

Since Marathon Quest, I established Quest for Kids,an initiative to raise one million dollars and help 20,000 children around the world. It included 5 Guinness World Records, climbing Kilimanjaro in 21 hours, and running a thousand kilometres around the coast of England.

I set up a challenge, and for me it has to be a 50/50 chance of failure and so here I was doing ten events over five years, and really giving back to the community.

Why are goals so important to you? Why should people embrace and chase goals?

Goals are so important to me to allow me to really go beyond where I am at the moment, to take me to a place where I didn’t even think was possible, and for me it’s just something I really think is so important in what I do in my life.

A number of my goals that I’ve taken on, and I’ve been told this, I’ve been told I’m nuts, and kind of crazy to even attempt them. When I did the 250 marathons I was interviewed by CNN, and the interviewer, Tony, said to me, “You’re crazy! What are you trying to do?” But, I feel it’s very important for us to go beyond what we think we can possibly do.

I’m a regular person. I’m a Granddad, Ok? I’ve got three grand kids. It’s just for all of us, to take that step forward, whether it’s trying to do a 5k run, or lose 5 pounds, it doesn’t matter. We can all take that step to try and make a difference in our lives which will have an impact on other people.

Why does health matter so much to you?

Health is so important to me. I’ve been very fortunate, because I haven’t had injuries through my running and so on, but in 2015 I was diagnosed with a massive clot on the brain, and I was put in an induced coma, and I could have died right there. Being in relatively good health got me through that.

One thing I always consider is when I’m well, I think of many things, but when I’m sick, I only think of one thing, and that’s getting well. So health is paramount in my life and especially with what I want to do.

How do you recharge?

Well, the way I recharge is I meditate. And the way I meditate is that I run. I just find the running, (I don’t listen to music), the pounding of the feet, and the beating of the heart just helps me think, and helps me sort things out as I go along.

My goal is to help people say, without question: I love my life! Do you love your life, and why?

I really love my life, I’m very fortunate. I’m 61 years old, I’m in relatively good shape, and I aim to be there, but it takes work, it takes an effort. But the reason I want to be there is for my grandkids. I have a granddaughter, Autumn, who’s 13.

Last year I ran a marathon in Afghanistan to support the girls and women over there. We can all make a difference. We don’t have to do a lot, but we’ve got to do something.

What’s next for you?

So, the big thing that I’m looking at next is making a film of the trip to Afghanistan. We took a film crew with us. It’s called the Secret Marathon and this is really to support the girls and women who are trying to make a difference over there.

I take running somewhat for granted. We can all go out and just run on the pathways, but over there they have to suffer verbal and physical abuse so I want to get a movie out there to support these women and girls in what they’re trying to do and how they’re trying to make a difference in their lives.

Anything else you’d like to share?

I think the one thing that we can all take away is that in life, you don’t have to do a lot but you’ve got to do something. Whatever it is, with your family, your friends, even people you don’t know. Take that one step and then that will lead to the next one. So stick at it, and don’t give up, and just give it a go.

Thanks Martin, for taking the time to chat with me. If you want to learn more about Martin Parnell visit www.martinparnell.com

Michelle Cederberg, MKin, BA Psyc
Certified Speaking Professional (CSP)
Certified Exercise Physiologist (CEP)
Certified Professional Co-Active Coach (CPCC)
ORSC Trained Team Coach

Live Energetically ~ Do Work You Love ~ Get the Most Out of Life

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