Power of Determination

 On Monday, April 21, 2014, Dick and Rick Hoyt will run their final marathon together in Boston to honor all of those killed or injured last year.  At birth, Rick’s mother and father were told their son would be no more than a vegetable and was told to institutionalize him.  Rick was born with cerebral palsy because the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck and compromised his oxygen levels.  His mother and father refused to give up on their son.

The more they watched Rick’s eyes follow them around the room, they became convinced he had the capacity to communicate, hence,  the capacity to learn. His parents began to teach him.  In a few short years, he learned to communicate via a special computer.  Later, Rick graduated from college and earned a degree in special education and began designing computer systems to serve the disabled.

Rick’s personal triumph over his disability is truly inspiring but what makes his story even more incredible was his request of his dad to run with him to raise money for a fellow classmate who had become paralyzed. After this first run, Rick told his dad, “Dad, when I’m running, it feels like I’m not handicap.”  Those words moved Dick into action.  While Rick was in school, Dick would train by pushing heavy bags of cement in a wheel chair to prepare for the races.

Since 1977, they have run in 1100 marathon, triatholon and athletic events.   There are so many lessons in the Team Hoyt story but the core message revolves around determination. Webster’s Dictionary defines determination as:  A firm resolve or intention or the quality of being firmly resolute.  Determination is simply a made up mind.  When adversity strikes, the odds appear to be  stacked against you.  In fact, it seems to attract its friends complex and chaos to help tip the scale in their favor.  Determination is that special quality that helps to balance the scale.  The adversity is not going anywhere but determination is the catalyst to keep you moving forward.  What does it take?  

1.  Keep your eye on the prize 

Dick Hoyt’s inspiration was his son Rick and Rick’s desire to feel normal.  For 37 years, Dick and Rick have crossed finish lines together.  In business and life, it is critical to constantly remind yourself of the end goal.  There are countless ways to focus on the end result.  Journaling is very effective and writing your goals   and posting them in areas you frequent is another strategy.

2.  Establish a routine and stay the course

The Hoyts had a rigorous training schedule.  A routine is a systematic approach to your activities.  Decide on the daily disciplines needed to help accomplish a goal.  Create a schedule and hold yourself accountable.  Routines will help you push through the pain because your mind will become trained through the process and you will be compelled to finish what you start.  Partnering with a coach can be extremely helpful.

3.  Remember:  Your goal is always bigger than you

When Dick and Rick began running 37 years ago because Rick wanted to help raise money for his classmate who had become paralyzed.  After this experience, Dick wanted to help his son feel normal.  Thirty-seven later, they are running their final race in the Boston Marathon to honor all those lives impacted by the tragedy last year.  The Hoyt team has transformed their own family, impacted their community and inspired the entire world.

The vision you have been given is far greater than yourself.  What’s so amazing about a vision or goal is that initially, you can’t see all the lives impacted when a goal is accomplished.  Along the way, it gets tough because you can only see the mountain or obstacle in front of you.  Rest assured, if you keep your eye on the prize, establish a routine and stay the course, and remind yourself the goal is bigger than you,  you will look back at the molehills you have crossed which once appeared to be the mountains! (Photo courtesy of Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia en.wikipedia.org/wiki/team-hoyt)

One comment


  • Great article, Pamela. I am so inspired by the Hoyts. They make me cry all the time. Thanks for sharing these motivational and inspiration tips!

    April 5, 2014

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