I always thought I was the motivation master in the family but let it be known that it’s my son, Cole Bullock.
He has been running since he was little. I remember us doing fun 100 yard dashes in the back yard and Cole winning…in flip flops!
In elementary school cross country he would predict how many seconds he would shave off his time each week and regularly achieve his goal. Who is that intuitive in elementary school?!
Every cross country race was a nail biter during middle school. There was always that one kid. Sometimes he would win and sometimes it would be Cole. Normal Park’s Lisa Leopold and Brad Cowell were his cross country and track coaches back then and did excellent jobs motivating and pushing Cole while also keeping it fun.
Then eighth grade year hit and he was on crutches for nearly all of it. Two hip issues and then an ankle break while skim boarding during our first day of spring break vacation.
Recovery was slow and his first cross country race (3.1 miles) as a Freshman was brutal. He was very de-conditioned and finished close to last. It was heartbreaking to watch and deep down we wondered if he had it in him to get back in the fight because of the long exhausting battle ahead.
The plus side? Having the best coach in Hamilton County (and way beyond) who took him under his wing and brought him back up to speed slowly. Red Bank High Track, Cross Country, and JROTC Coach Hugh Enicks, AKA Colonel, is a beast. He’s a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the Army and an amazing long distance runner with multiple national wins under his belt.
Colonel believes in grit, commitment, stretch goals, and winning (with some fun thrown in). After he got Cole back up to speed he increased his weekly mileage to accelerate him to the top.
For the past two years Cole runs regularly before school at 5:20am and tacks on a second practice after. He gets up early on Sunday mornings for long group runs and during summer months he goes it alone for 10-15 milers.
With all of that training comes many amazing successes and wins.
Yet he’s not exempt from losses. He was heartbroken last track season when he pushed himself past his limit while competing in the mile at the TN State meet. In the lead with less than 50 yards to go he gave out, fell, and finished fourth.
That fall didn’t keep him down and in fact motivated him to start this final high school cross country season with an impressive 14:54 5K time and course record. That’s when his phone started ringing a lot.
After countless conversations with coaches, numerous offers, and a few official school visits he is super excited to sign with Ole Miss. Coach Ryan Vanhoy has lead the rebels for six years, six record breaking years. He was just awarded SEC Cross Country Coach of the year while also basking in another amazing historical record — 2018 SEC Cross Country Champions. Hotty Toddy!
Here's seven extremely motivating rules I’ve learned from Cole:
Focus on what you do want.
Focus on the seconds you're going to shave off your time, the tasks you’re going to accomplish this week, and the few things you can do today that inch you closer to your dreams.
Have mentors and coaches.
Surround yourself with people who are doing it! These people will teach and push you beyond your limited beliefs about yourself and your abilities.
Grow your FLI muscle. (Feel Like It)
Make progress on your goal especially when you don’t feel like it. Take a small action when you’d rather take the easy route. Motivation and positive habits come after consistent action, never before. More on the topic -- When you don't feel like it.
Push past the discomfort.
Your brain always wants you to avoid discomfort because it associates it with danger and wants to keep you safe. When you push past that natural threshold you learn that you survive and you actually come alive to accomplish greater goals.
Embrace the falls.
The falls are an important part of the journey. They’re great teachers that push you into growth mode and offer valuable insight that allows you to evaluate and course correct. More on the topic — Four ways to fail your way to success. A conversation with my daughter about failing.
Focus on progress not perfection.
Taking small, consistent actions absolutely adds up to big wins vs staying on the start line because you’re afraid of not doing it perfect — that approach will never win a race. And progress comes in many forms including fails, stall-outs and things not going according to your grand plan.
Breaks don’t have to break you.
What benefits do you get by quitting? Quitting and wondering ‘what if’ take up a lot of mental energy so use that energy to get back up and win instead. That’s what you’re here for — to live with gusto!
We may not have a lot athletically in common with Cole but we all absolutely can choose to play by his motivating rules and rock this one precious life and crush our goals!
Hotty Toddy Motivation Master!
I know I'm super partial but here's more on Cole, Coach Colonel and Coach Vanhoy:
Cole’s success at cross country meets, Red Bank High School paper 10.27.17
Cole interview with Fox news, High School Sport Zone 9.20.17