Today we have a post from Stephanie Florence, 40:20 Vision’s contributing / Millennial editor, reflecting on making a difference.
My friend Erin Leigh is a superhero disguised as a runner.
As a refresher, a superhero typically displays the following traits:
• Extraordinary abilities
• A strong moral code
• A motivation
• A supporting cast of recurring characters
• A backstory
On March 17, 2013 Erin Leigh completed her first marathon – an amazing feat all its own, but this superhero had much more riding on the race (her backstory). She and her running partner Brooke had also raised more than $9,000 to send 26 girls in Nepal to school for a year (her motivation).
Not only did she inspire a nationwide fitness campaign for the non-profit we volunteer for, She’s the First, she made people who have never been runners believe that they could be (me included! I ran my first 5K this summer). When my alarm would go off for a morning run and I wanted to hit snooze, I would literally think to myself – what would Erin Leigh do? It would take all of 10 seconds for me to get into running mode. Because if she could run countless miles and raise thousands of dollars (her extraordinary abilities), I could certainly get out there for a 2 mile run.
All of a sudden Erin Leigh found herself with a spot in the New York City marathon. She took this opportunity to again give of her time and talents to continue her fundraising efforts – ensuring those 26 girls in Nepal would have a second year of tuition covered.
I’ve heard people say when training for marathons they never see/hear from friends because they become completely consumed by the training. Not Erin Leigh – she became more engaged with her friends and social networks (her supporting cast of recurring characters). She was constantly updating her network on her progress – not to mention just as active with She’s the First and making the effort to celebrate the birthdays and promotions of her friends. That’s the type of
person superhero she is. Someone who sets her mind to a very difficult goal, but never loses sight of herself in the process (her strong moral code).
When she runs the New York City marathon this Sunday Erin Leigh will be running for much more than 26 girls. She will be running for all the people she has inspired by her efforts and I will continue to feel lucky that sometimes superheroes do come into our lives, disguised as friends.
We don’t all have to run marathons, but we can be superheroes in our own right. Keep your backstory in mind, take advantage of the support from your cast of recurring characters, never lose your strong moral code, constantly work towards your motivation and use your extraordinary abilities to benefit the lives of others.
What can you do this week to demonstrate your superhero qualities?
You can learn more about Erin Leigh’s second marathon and donate here; 100% of the money raised will support girls’ education in Nepal. Send her some love on Twitter at @ErinLeighNYC and follow her adventures on Instagram.