A few years ago I was commissioned by a health and wellness centre in London to write a series of articles, from the perspective of an ultra-runner, on the power that POSITIVITY plays in the achieving of challenging goals. The series of articles was called Living With Purpose, and explored the three key factors involved in achieving goals: PASSION, PURPOSE, PERSEVERENCE.

In the articles I used the vantage point of running to illustrate the importance of passion and purpose. Running IS my passion. It gives me purpose. But my running is another person’s cross stitch – or swimming, or bonsai, or stamp collecting. Whatever it is we choose, we all need something we’re passionate about, something that gives us purpose – a hobby or pastime into which we can throw ourselves completely and be focused on where it takes us. Some of us choose a passion that challenges us, some like fast-paced action, other prefer a more relaxing activity. My choice is running. Yours may be something else. Whatever it may be, it’s important to you – it’s a part of your life right now. It might remain so for years, perhaps even for your lifetime, or it might change and you find something else that inspires you more. Or maybe you have a range of hobbies or pastimes that work for you, that take you into a different frame of mind, perhaps relaxes you, perhaps stimulates you.

For me, my passion is running – any type of running, be it on road, on trails, up mountains, in deserts, in hot and cold conditions, in sun or in rain. For years I’ve run competitively and I’ve liked to win, yes, but far, far more importantly than that, I’ve run for the sheer joy of running. I run because it clears my mind, it gives me perspective, it exhilarates and energises me, it makes me feel alive. I run because I love it, as simple as that.

I believe running epitomises life – its trials and tribulations, its challenges, its joys. To me running forms the very shape of human endeavour, whatever endeavour that may be.

Over the next six weeks I’ll be posting the Living With Purpose articles, one a week, looking at the important role passion, purpose and perseverance play in our lives. The articles examine how our chosen passions, whatever they are, help to give our life purpose, and how passion, purpose and perseverance help give us perspective to see the bigger picture when things are feeling a bit much.

In the articles I talk running, yes, but so much more than that – I liken running to life, to everything, be they projects, work, new ventures… anything we set out to achieve. I look at the importance of self-belief, goal-setting, and keeping motivated. I also cover the tougher aspects like overcoming adversity, and dealing with the inevitability of disappointment and failure.

Running can show you there’s so much more to you than you ever knew. Even after almost 30 years of running, it’s still teaching me things about myself, and things about life. That’s what’s wonderful about a passion – if you have a passion for something, you’re always open to being taught, and the learning never stops.

Over my next 6 blog posts I’ll be talking far more than simply running, I’ll be talking life: the hows behind achieving the good, dealing with the bad, and doing our best to ensure the ugly doesn’t happen.