Thinking Bigger Tuesday: What happened when I asked myself a Crazy Question?

Last week I recommended Anne Mahlum’s TED Talk, “There is no way this will work” about getting the homeless to run. About the time Anne Mahlum asked her crazy question, I asked another one while I was running.

In my executive coaching business, Murfield Coaching, I work with leaders to solve significant problems with disruptive thinking. I guess it shouldn’t be any surprise that I ask myself crazy questions that push me farther than most would expect. This story is a perfect example.

My wife had suggested we run a 5K with her office. We weren’t runners and never were very fast when we did run. But I said, “Sure, if you want to.” (Like any smart husband would.)

Three years later I’m running a race in a neighboring town when I had a crazy question go through my mind. “How fast and how far can I run?” That was crazy because I was in my mid 50s. Why would anyone that age want to see how far or how fast they could run?

I entertained the thought because I’m willing to explore great opportunities. I wouldn’t be disappointed.

That fall we ran a 10K and the following spring a 15K, continuing the same training we used in our “Couch to 5K” program.

That’s when I asked my wife the next crazy question. “Would you like to run a half marathon?”

“It’s only another 5K so why not?” So we did. But the next question wouldn’t be so well received.

Shortly after, I asked, “Would you ever consider running a marathon?

I didn’t even get the question out before I heard a firm, “NO!” She explained that it wasn’t just another 5k but twice the length of a half marathon.

In other words, the answer was, “ARE YOU CRAZY?”

We trained for 2 months for a half but a full marathon would require 4 months of training. “Why would we want to do that?”

Others concurred. Why run? We aren’t that fast and will likely never place even in our age group. So why go through all that work?

That question, “Should we run a marathon” was starting to sound like a real crazy question.

But I couldn’t get that question out of my mind because of the first question, “How far and how fast can I run?”

But then something amazing happened. After one of our half-marathons, while in the glow of a big accomplishment, my wife looked at me and said, “Let’s do it.”

So we did. We trained for months, churning out mile after mile driven by dreams of doing what only 2% of the population does, complete a marathon.

On January 7, 2018, just a few years after asking that crazy question, we did what we never thought possible. We ran a marathon.

The Crazy Result

I love the physical results of getting in shape and developing my stamina as I get older. The mental and emotional transformation are even greater . I found that training and running does great things. I have just run my 8th half-marathon in 3 years, my 7th 15K and over total 35 races sin 8 years. Pushing myself beyond the 5K and through the 10K, 15K and then those half marathons and finally stepping up and running a full marathon re-engineered my thinking. Here are 3 ways it changed me.

  • I’m much more willing to try something new.
  • I’m much more conscious of what is possible.
  • I’m very aware of what I do that most don’t, won’t or can’t.

While this post may seem to be more about personal than professional development, think again. Running is an excellent way to think disruptively. Running a marathon is a great way to get outside of your comfort zone and challenge your assumptions. If running isn’t for you, try biking, walking, or swimming.

Do you want to re-engineer your thinking to seize the best opportunities? Contact me today. I can help make that happen.

My Blog Post Schedule

  • Mind Shift Monday features a powerful quote that sets the tone for a week of innovative thinking.
  • Thinking Bigger Tuesday expands on the topic and provides pillar content of innovative thinking.
  • Why Not Wednesday introduces you to books, articles and research that I have found useful in solving significant problems with innovative thinking.
  • Transformational Thursday explores a TED Talk on the topic of the week. These talks are likely taken from the ones I have featured in my TED Talk Think Tank mastermind for radical change over the last five years.
  • Freaky Far Out Friday features crazy ideas that just might lead to solving your persistent problem.

Learn to Listen Effectively




Loren Murfield, Ph.D.

We work with leaders and organizations to solve significant problems with innovative thinking. What problem is frustrating you? Click here to contact us today.

Here’s a crazy question, how can Compassion be the best business practice that unleashes the ultimate performance, production, and profit? Leading with the Power of Compassion

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