A Shared Dream: Find Supporters to Push You Across the Finish Line

By Edna Figueroa - October 21, 2019

Earlier this month we saw an affirmation of human potential in the field of athletics when Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya became the first human to complete a marathon in less than two hours. This was one of those achievements that many thought was impossible, like Roger Bannister finally breaking the four-minute mile in 1954. To keep up the pace needed to reach this milestone required great physical endurance, an intense, unrelenting focus, and iron-willed determination.

If you saw highlights of the race, you may have noticed that reaching this breakthrough also took support from a team of helpers, and the use of specific tools to keep the runner’s effort on track. Kipchoge’s team included a rotating coterie of pacesetter runners who pushed him to keep running at the necessary clip of about 4 minutes and 34 seconds per mile, over 26.2 miles. His team also included training, equipment and support from a well-known athletic shoe maker that helped him prepare behind the scenes for his moment in the spotlight, and a high-tech tool on a pace vehicle that projected a laser image that helped him visualize the running speed he needed to maintain to reach his goal.

Career Growth Should Not Be a Lonely Pursuit

This achievement also is a powerful example of the impact of coaching on business leaders and professionals who want to reach new heights of achievement. Kipchoge had a personal dream to do something that had never been done before. But his achievement only became possible because he turned it into a shared dream, and enlisted the help needed to keep his dream on track and make it a reality.

As I applauded and marveled at Kipchoge’s story, I was reminded that no matter how daunting the goal seems to be, our journey does not have to be lonely. Over the past two years, Kipchoge put in the work and achieved a series of small victories that moved his marathon finish times closer and closer to the two-hour barrier.

Similarly, the small victories that led me to achieve what matters the most to me on my journey only were possible when I became vulnerable and asked for support. I built new muscles and quickened my pace when I got in close partnership with world-class leaders & colleagues who saw my energy and passion for creating the future that I cared about the most. These have been my pacesetters.

My journey required that I constantly assess how effectively I was working in partnership with those supporters – including business leaders, colleagues, clients and close friends – who would help shape what is next for me and address how to overcome the barriers that rose along the way.

Find Pacesetters to Help You

Similarly, coaching clients have afforded me the opportunity to get to know them more than they know themselves and help them gain clarity around their biggest dreams and talents. Our shared work becomes part of the support system that they can draw upon to reach new heights in their lives and careers. I get to be one of their pacesetters, as in Kipchoge’s story, inspiring clients to round up other supporters along the way to help them achieve what is possible.

Thinking about achieving your dreams can be scary and confusing. But you can begin the process with your answers to questions like these:

What are your biggest dreams?

What relationships and partnerships exist in your network that, if activated today, would make available more of what you want in your life?

What is your biggest fear when enlisting support?

What new behaviors would you like to intentionally practice today to enlist more supporters/pacesetters?

Success Starts With a Shared Dream

Here’s the key point to remember: It’s tough to achieve your biggest dreams if you’re running the race alone. You need supporters (pacesetters) along the way! Make it a shared dream!

As Kipchoge said after his record-breaking run, “Anything is possible.” Attaining new heights on your career journey is possible too, with the right team and tools to support you.

Does this sound like you? Let’s get in touch!

Elevate Leadership Coaching ( has served over 300 clients across a range of industries, levels, and functions. We believe in co-creating innovative leadership development programs to help organizations create a new model of success where everyone can discover their own unique gifts and align them to the organizational values, so together they can do their best work.

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