How Do You Make The Impossible Possible?

Jillian Mooney
September 22, 2019

Joe here – Jill is one for inspirational quotes. She has numerous pinned to the cork board in her office but if she wants me to ‘casually stumble’ upon a particular quote she’ll write it on a sticky note and put it on the fridge.

On a recent trip to said fridge I encountered the following at eye level:

“Start by doing what is necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible”.

And I know why it’s there, it’s there because the 2020 season is brewing inside of me.

I’ve got a fair bit of the seemingly ‘impossible’ in there, things that I have not accomplished yet or things that have not been accomplished before.

And Jill, well she listens to me at the kitchen table, ok sometimes with her head in her hands but then she goes and posts this quote.

“Start by doing what is necessary”

Any performance , in any walk of life, is built on the necessary and the mundane.

Training – Nutrition – Recovery – Sleep – Attention to Mindset – Positive Connection

Rinse and repeat, day in and day out.

Somedays it’s a chore. Somedays it’s a passion. Everyday, however, it needs done.

There are no excuses and the same rules apply to all. So never discount the quiet effort and dedication you bring to your ‘necessary.’

“Then do what’s possible”

It’s important to set goals that take you to the edge of your capability. I do it regularly in training, racing and yes, life!

It actually doesn’t matter if you get there, what matters is that you stretch yourself. The realm of ‘what’s possible’ only exists in the stretch. And you don’t have to go that far into the stretch, just enough to explore the edge of your performance capability.

You can stay on this performance edge for a season or for years by the way. There’s significant growth, discovery and experience to be gained. You learn patience, respect and critically you learn to fail.

No-one likes to fail but fail you must. If you keep stretching into ‘what’s possible’ you tip over at some point. That’s the most valuable place of targeted growth and when you grow from this place there are the added latent gifts of accomplishment and confidence waiting for you when you do cross the intended finish line. You’ve just moved your ‘what’s possible’ forward.

“Suddenly you are doing the impossible”

What is an impossible performance? I’ve thought about this deeply for the last few days.

The question only has meaning when it relates to you, your performance.

Impossible is personal.

Here’s what I have discovered – by dedicating myself to the ‘necessary’ and constantly stretching into ‘what’s possible’, I find myself in a position where I have to redefine my ‘impossible’.

My 2020 goals might have been impossible in 2016 but they are not today. So I do get to sit at my kitchen table and say them out loud for the first time. It’s a stretch but it’s not impossible.

Jill gets me. She knows that’s its not about setting pie-in-the-sky goals, it’s about reaching a mature point in a performance curve where you have to redefine ‘the impossible’ because you’re now in sight of it.

But here’s the really important part – even if you are in sight of it, it starts in the same place, with the hard graft of ‘necessary’.

So you’ll find me on the road, in the sweat and grime of daily effort, working with my nutrition, sleeping, resting, taking the time to recover and connect…maybe we’ll connect and ride for a few miles along the way.

I look forward to hearing about your 2020 goals and I do hope that some of you have the Race Joe Barr endurance series in mind either as a solo or a team.

It might just be the perfect stretch….

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