Alison Desir: Strength Is Knowing Nothing Is Guaranteed - R4R 181
There are moments when life seems out of our control. The loss of a loved one, the inability to find employment, or a broken relationship are examples of trials that can make us feel powerless. The spiral of depression can take us even further down as any attempt to better our situation is overcome by unfortunate events.
Seven years ago, this was the exact situation Alison Desir found herself in. Her dad was sick, she lost her job, and her relationship ended all within a short period of time. Happily, her story since then has gone a completely opposite direction. After learning that a friend of hers was training for a marathon, she decided to give it a go as well thinking, “If he can do it, maybe I can do it.”
As you’ll find out, the rest is history. Alison has gone on to run in many races and has created her living around running. She used running to pull herself out of depression and has since used it to inspire others and bring them together.
Alison’s story is not uncommon. We’ve seen time and again that running can pull people out of their deepest places. This change often starts with an example of a friend. Today we continue to celebrate running and friendships and what they can do to change the world. Follow along!
Get Started with a Run
Feeling like you are in complete control of even one aspect of your life can make a huge difference for your wellbeing. Running does that for millions around the world. If you feel unmotivated, trapped, or powerless, go for a run. You can decide to put on your shoes, you can decide where you run, how far you run, and how fast you run. You’re in control.
Another beautiful thing about running that Alison loves is the pay-off relationship. “What you put in, is what you get out of it.” Generally speaking, the more effort you put into your running, the better you will become. It’s this one-to-one relationship with effort and results that often starts off a chain reaction of success for many people.
Once Alison discovered running, she built on it. Her runs were getting her out of the house consistently, slowly helping her meet new people and building her confidence. She noticed pretty quickly that she was not the typical runner. As a woman of color she was in the minority of marathoners, and she wanted to do something about it.
Consistency Builds Trust
Alison couldn’t keep her love of running to herself. Just six months after her first race she organized “Harlem Run.” It was her way of wanting to share what she had found, and help people feel comfortable running. However, for the first four months, nobody came to her meetups. Her mom would reminder her that if she built it, people would come.
Today she looks back on those four months and knows that she was just proving to the community that she would be there, week after week. When the first person came to her meetup, she was glued to them.
Having the “why” support her during four months of no-shows is what helped Alison stay consistent. When we go after something with a solid purpose, it will give us energy to stay with it during the tough times when the money isn’t coming or the people aren’t supportive.
What to Do If You’re in the Majority?
Most of us are (obviously) in the majority. It means that when the minority is fighting for themselves, they can really benefit from people in the majority to help them out. As a runner, an entrepreneur, and a woman of color, Alison is sometimes in the minority.
So how can we help if we aren’t in the group? How can men help women? How can citizens help refugees? It starts by recognizing who is around us and who is in influential positions. Do what you can to include the minority. Sometimes a minority is only a minority in leadership. You don’t have to pretend to be someone else, but you can raise your voice around others in the majority and ask to include others and to treat them equally.
In short, let’s include others. Everyone should feel welcome in the running community, after all, we all have the ability to run. The more, the better.
Thank you to my wonderful sponsors Athletic Greens, Janji, Tracksmith, and Altra for sponsoring this episode of the Running for Real Podcast.
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Thank you to Alison, I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the show.