Twenty-five years old and sitting on a hospital bed, upon reaching down to tie my shoes I could not remember how. The week before I had slipped into a semi-coma after cancer spread to my brain. The physical therapist looked on as my dad walked over and just like when I was a boy tied my shoes. They helped me to stand up. I tried taking a step but could not remember how. They placed my arms around their necks as they helped me re-learn how to walk. Even with their help, I only went five yards before they had to bring me back to the hospital room in a wheelchair due to exhaustion.

Lying in my bed, in my mind’s eye, a vision of running a marathon crossed my mind. The first major goal was to make it down the hospital hallway and back. Everyday I would go a little further. After leaving the hospital, the goal was to make it around block. On June 4, 2006, I stood with over 22,000 other participants at the San Diego Rock N’Roll Marathon.

Life is like a marathon. A series of hours make up days, which become years. Life like a marathon is an endurance event. To be successful in the race of life you do not have to be the fastest, the smartest, or the strongest. The race of life is not a competition or even a destination. It is a personal journey and each one of us has our own race to run. Through my experience I learned three valuable lessons that helped me conquer cancer and run a marathon. You also can use them to overcome challenges and achieve greater life fulfillment.

Visualize Your Victory
A timeless truth says, “Where there is no vision the people perish.” What is your vision for your life? What do you want to do, be, and have? The first step is to be able to see your vision in your mind’s eye. Just as I laid in the hospital bed, picturing myself running a marathon, you must do the same for your vision. Once you can do that, it becomes a definite major purpose. This moves the vision from your mind to the physical world.

Take Action
Will Rogers said, “Even if you are on the right track you will get run over if you just sit there.” How do you run a marathon? One-step at a time. In order to fulfill your vision you have to take action every single day. It does not matter how small it is. The key is to do something everyday that moves you closer to your vision. This builds momentum. Think back to science class and inertia. Objects at rest tend to stay at rest, while objects in motion stay in motion.

Check Your Attitude
According to Charles Swindoll, “The single most significant decision we can make on a day to day basis is our choice of attitude.” In order to complete a marathon I had to have the belief it was possible. Daily I had to check the negative self-talk and the self-defeating inner dialogue. The little voice that says it is impossible. Once you have the attitude that your vision is possible, you will take the necessary action.

Life like a marathon is an endurance event. It is a roller coaster with ups, downs, and surprising turns. Crossing the finish line was one of the greatest victories in my life. Through Visualizing your Victory, Taking Action, and Checking your Attitude you will be able to cross the finish lines in your life.

Author's Bio: 

Matt Jones is a 3x cancer conqueror, completed a marathon and author of “Life’s a Marathon.” Through his story, Matt inspires audiences to thrive in the midst of adversity and exceed present levels of success. For more information or contact him to speak visit