Annoying Heroes

A former colleague from 10 years ago has reached an epic goal.

Thirty-six days ago, Kate embarked on a 1000 mile journey from Lands End to John O’Groats, by running and hiking. A herculean effort.

She documented her experience on Facebook in a series of daily updates, sharing pictures of what she saw as she went on her journey.

I’ve found it a compelling read – a rare thing in digital circles – a magic combination of pictures and text telling me the story of something I have absolutely no experience of, and similarly absolutely no desire of doing myself.

Why did the story grip me? Why was the conclusion – her pictured at the famous sign at John O’Groats – so uplifting? Is it that I want to bask in her glory just by virtue of knowing her? What is it about Kate’s story so compelling? And what does that tell me about me?

Five listy things follow. Just because I know we’re all very busy.

1. Kate’s is a monumental achievement at the end of an epic journey

I see value in bold statements. I always have. I’ve always been motivated by a grand statements. I’m energised by hers.

2. Her journey from one end of the country to the other triggers my imagination

It makes me imagine all sorts of different places in the country, places I haven’t been to, and haven’t ever thought of. Each place presents the possibility of a story.


3. The scope of her challenge really appeals to me

I do not want to run from Lands End to John O’Groats. It would freak me, my husband, and my octogenarian parents out.

What excites me about Kate’s achievement is the herculean effort, and the fact that she did it on her own.

It was bold, daring, and oh so typical of her. It was hard work that return a deserving reward.

The goal was tangible, unequivocal, and intensely personal. Only she could have done that.

4. Kate’s achievement makes me beam with pride

This monumental commitment makes me feel close to her, even though I haven’t seen her in years. I end up feeling warm and fuzzy thoughts about her.

These feelings are in themselves reflections of my self. Those reflections remind me of parts of my personality I’d previously overlooked.

Put simply: I feel warm and fuzzy because she’s achieved something on a scale I’d quite like to achieve myself. Sometimes that kind of admiration gets confused with jealousy.

5. Kate’s achievement is a timely reminder of uncompleted tasks

If Kate is able to achieve what she’s achieved in the past 10 years, and specifically in the past 36 days, what can I achieve over the next few months by tapping into the inspiration her epic achievement has bestowed?


List over, what do I learn from this self-imposed coaching exercise?

Well .. we often dismiss feelings of jealousy as a bad thing – something we should feel guilty about.

How helpful is that assumption about jealousy? Not very much.

What if jealousy is a signpost? What if those things that others achieve inspires us to reach for similarly bold aspirations? What would those goals be? What dreams can others’ achievements help us realise?


Jon Jacob is an ICF Accredited Coach, with experience in leadership coaching in the media industry and higher education.

To discuss how coaching could benefit you, contact him on 07768 864655 or at Jon Jacob is @TGoodCoach on Twitter.

Support Kate’s chosen charity – Public Health Collaboration – by sponsoring her at

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