Tag Archives: ambition

Leadership lessons from an iron man, with a golden heart

Marc Herremans

Marc Herremans

I am certain there is no better quote to describe the life story of Marc Herremans, Belgian top athlete in triathlon, Iron Man and the Iron Man for disabled people, than this one:

You can if you think you can.
If you think you are beaten, you are.

During a seminar Marc told us how he dealt with personal (ambitious) goal setting and dealing with set backs. It was a touching story that I would like to share with you.

Everybody has a main goal in life
Marc reminded us of the fact of how lucky we truly are: we’re all living in the richest part of the world, and above that, we are all healthy.
In his early years, Marc was not sure about being a boxer or a swimmer. But after a few attempts he has set a goal for himself to become the number one triathlete in the world. He was good on his way when a major setback happened which resulted in being paralyzed from the waist down.

Every setback in life is an opportunity to fight back
While in the hospital, Marc thought his life was over: he had to give up his one ambition and now was destined to a life in a wheel chair. After a visit from his nephew he saw the light again and set a new ambitious target: to become the number one triathlete… in a wheelchair.

Everything started again for Marc, only his aspirations were changed.

Since we cannot change reality, let us change the eyes which see the reality

Everything is possible if you believe in it
Years of hard work and training resulted in winning the Iron Man in Hawaii in 2006. Marc emphasizes that you do see one man going over the finish line, but there is a whole team of 30 members involved. A team that would have made his victory impossible without.

You have to reach your goals before your end is near, so you have to do it now
My question at the end of his presentation was: what’s next? So I asked him about his next goal in life since he already made his one ambitious goal. Marc responded that he’ll devote the remainder of his life to coaching other athletes, running the Project U-turn and To Walk Again foundation, and his family.

You can only control the controllable
One lesson I take along from Marc’s touching story is that you cannot control everything, so there’s no need to get stressed from stuff you cannot control. When it is about setting results, it’s about you. Comparing yourself with the other’s gear, state, strength, etc will only make you uncertain.

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