Photo: Michael O'Neill
I'll never forget the morning in 1995—just a year after I'd run a marathon—when I found myself barely able to drag my legs, which felt like concrete blocks, around an indoor track for a five-mile run. Huffing and puffing at lap seven with 15 to go, I stopped my trainer, Bob Greene, who was running his usual three paces ahead of me: "Why does every step have to be so difficult for me?" I asked him. Without missing a beat, Bob met my question with another: "Why do you look at it as a struggle? This is going to be harder some days than others, but on any given day, your body gives you what it has—and you just have to do the best you can with that."
Use what you have to run toward your best—that's how I now live my life. At one point, I didn't believe I could find the time to exercise. Instead of calling this impossible, I've redefined it as an opportunity—a chance for me to give something back to my body so it can go a little farther. No matter what I have to give—and some days it's more than others—my goal is always to offer myself up to the challenge of exercise not as a "struggle" but as a stepping-stone, one that I believe can lead me toward my finest hour.
What I know for sure is that no matter where you stand right now—on a hilltop, in a gutter, at a crossroads, in a rut—you need to give yourself the best you have to offer in this moment. Rather than depleting yourself with judgments about what you haven't done, redirect that energy toward the next big push—the one that takes you from good enough to better. The one that takes you from adequate to extraordinary. The one that helps you rise up from a low moment and reach for your personal best.
What Oprah Knows for Sure
From the August 2003 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine
We Hear You!