The Joseph Group

Be the Best Version of You

May 24, 2024

To Inspire:

I had lunch today with a friend I hadn’t seen for at least 7-8 years. We served together on a board overlapping for a couple of years as I finished my tenure, and he was just beginning his. I loved catching up on his life and learning some new things about him. Like me, Mike is Catholic, a husband and father and has worked in the financial services industry. We got caught up on each other’s families and activities and I learned that he has graduated from running marathons to running ultra marathons. He has run nearly 100 such ultra marathons including sevn of 100 miles or more! To get ready for the long runs, he rises at 4:30 every weekday morning and gets a 6-8 mile run in before anyone else in his home is even up. On Saturdays he runs an 18-20 mile run or more if he is preparing for a competition. He shared how much he loves it – getting outside early in the morning to enjoy the beauty of nature.

Mike is in his mid-50s and sees no reason why he can’t keep doing these well into his 60’s or even 70’s. He shared two insights during our conversation that I pass on to all of you:

Don’t compare yourself to others – be the best version of you. Mike shared that he never sets a specific time goal when he runs, nor does he try to run faster than someone else. He strives to run as fast and well as he can on that particular day. “When I’ve trained well and run as well as I can in that particular competition, I’ve met my goal.” He even shared that there may be a person that runs far slower than him in a given race but perhaps, gave more effort that day. According to Mike, in a very real sense, that person did “better” than him; “they ran their best – which is all that anyone can ask of themselves.” He went on to share that when he developed this perspective about running some years ago, he discovered that it impacted other aspects of his life. He finds that he now strives to be the best person that he can be in every aspect of his life – his faith, his marriage, his parenting, his work life and as an ultramarathoner.

Life has risks – don’t avoid them but be prepared for them. While Mike is not a financial advisor, he is in the financial risk management business. Our conversation wandered into the idea of risk taking and he shared a recent example related to running. He was in North Carolina running on a high mountain ridge – steep fall offs on either side – when suddenly, hail and a thunderstorm hit the mountain area where he was running. The temperature dropped to just above freezing and pouring rain and mud were washing over the trail as he ran, making footing very difficult. Here he is fully exposed on a high point, running on a narrow trail with nowhere to go but straight ahead. Mike quickly donned a rain slicker and also had a GPS signal in his backpack, along with an extra layer of clothing if needed. Mike was as ready as he could be and decided that he would simply trust God, put one foot in front of the other and keep running. Thankfully the storm blew through quickly and he and the other runners made it down off the mountain safely. I asked him how he felt afterward, and he shared a great insight: “I’ve learned not to be afraid of dying but to be afraid of not living.” What a great quote for all of us to remember!

Very few of us are or will become ultramarathoners. But all of us should be “telling our great life story” with purpose and passion. What are you doing in each aspect of your life to become the best version of yourself? Is your relationship with God where you want it to be? How about your spouse, children and grandchildren? Friends? Work? Service? Fitness? Determine what is most important in your life and pursue it. Don’t compare yourself to others – God made you to reveal an aspect of Him that only you can reveal, and He is there to help you do that and to be the best person that you can be. Live every day as if you were to die tomorrow – and you’ll die someday having truly lived.

Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend and don’t forget to lift a prayer of thanks for all those who have served our nation in the military, and especially, those who gave their lives for the freedom we enjoy today. God Bless!





Written by Matt Palmer, Partner & Co-Founder