The goal of the “Living in Your Top 1%” interview series is to break down the qualities of people who excel and to show that you can be successful and achieve personal greatness from any starting point in your life. The interview series looks at people from all different careers and industries. Some names will be familiar and others may not. The purpose is to understand and borrow from the “best practices” of winners to develop a roadmap to YOUR TOP 1%. We will share a new story each month.
This week’s guest is Julie Weiss aka the Marathon Goddess. I first met Julie at my book signing in LA at Barnes & Noble. She shared her exciting journey of running 52 marathons in 52 weeks to raise money/awareness for Pancreatic Cancer (which took her father’s life). She had a lot of amazing ideas that she wanted to put into action and I loved her energy and passion to make a difference. We spent some time working together and she’s never looked back.
Julie is taking on a huge challenge with an open heart and determination and is filled with much hope. She is putting her dream into action and we wish you the best of luck on your incredible journey. She will featured in the upcoming documentary about running, “Spirit of the Marathon 2.”
Alissa Finerman: What’s the most important strength you possess that allows you to be successful in your role?
Julie Weiss: I have always been a very positive and optimistic person. That’s a huge strength. Even before I started running, I knew there was the opportunity for greatness within me, and running has helped bring it out. Running has given me a gift. Through running I have discovered things I didn’t even think were possible. Many people will look outside of themselves for strength and or happiness, whether it is clothes, a new car, food, etc. I believe and have found that when you are optimistic it creates opportunity and allows people to achieve the impossible. I also like to surround myself with positive people and spread inspiration and hope wherever I go.
AF: What does success mean to you?
JW: I believe success is doing what you love. In order to be successful I truly believe the only way to achieve that is to love yourself first. It has to start with you.
Success comes from within.
Success is being healthy, waking up every day and being grateful that you are alive. By having a feeling of gratitude and love, this will allow you to go after your dreams with greater passion than you ever thought possible. Success comes from the heart, not from your bank account. The heart has beats and to be successful you need to make sure those beats are spent wisely and for a purpose. To me, that is success!
AF: What inspired you to start Marathon Goddess and pursue such an incredible goal (run 52 marathons and raise money for Pancreatic Cancer)?
JW: My father, Maurice Weiss, was my greatest fan and most challenging critic. He was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer in October 2010 and I lost him only a month later. Our greatest dream was for him to see me qualify for the Boston Marathon where we would go together. I ran the Sacramento Marathon for him two weeks after he passed. I finally qualified for the Boston Marathon on December 5th, 2010, after nineteen attempts. I ran it in 3:47, finishing with my fingers pointing to him in heaven. In 2011, I ran Boston and although my dad wasn’t there in person to see me run, I know he had the best seat in the house — my heart.
My father always did things in a big way. After I ran Boston, I knew there was more I could do. I had heard of people running 52 marathons and thought, why not me? I can do that! And now, I am running with greater passion and purpose to help change the course of history and raise over one million dollars to find a cure for Pancreatic Cancer. One of the goals is to increase public awareness and government focus on finding cures for the nation’s fourth leading cause of cancer deaths.
AF: What motivates you on a daily basis to keep going?
JW: To stay in the moment and be grateful for the miracles in your life. This includes appreciating the small things, like a flower or your car, and bigger things such as your children, pet, home, or friends. Often, we get so overwhelmed with life but if you pause for a moment, there is so much to be grateful for. It is a collection of seeing the sweetness in all things good and the blessings even in the bad.
If you can dream it, you can achieve it.
AF: What role do goals play in your life?
JW: Setting goals and benchmarks will be critical in my upcoming journey. My #1 goal is to stay healthy so I can make this all possible!
AF: What obstacles/challenges did you have to overcome to start this new venture, 52 For You? How did people react to your idea?
JW: They said it was the worst thing they have ever heard. Some of the obstacles included overcoming the doubters, breaking out of my comfort zone, believing in my vision, and staying determined to redefine what’s possible. Stay tuned…
AF: What are some of your most meaningful accomplishments?
JW: My children, meeting David (my fiance), being a group leader for the LA Roadrunners, and being on a mission to change the course of history for Pancreatic Cancer.
AF: What do the top performers do differently to excel?
JW: They have a great attitude, a support system, and an unstoppable will.
AF: What’s next for the Marathon Goddess?
JW: Meeting with top government officials, appearing in a running documentary, writing a book, speaking around the world, and gaining federal funding for Pan Can.
Please visit Marathon Goddess to learn more about Julie and her fabulous journey. You can also donate to Pancreatic Cancer Action Network directly through her site and help make a difference, Marathon Goddess.
Alissa Finerman is an Executive Coach and Gallup Certified Strengths Coach, speaker and author of Living in YOUR Top 1%. She works with managers, C-suite executives and teams to leverage strengths, shift beliefs and achieve meaningful goals. Alissa has an MBA from the Wharton School and a BA from the University of California, Berkeley. She has worked with Ross Stores, Petco, BNP Paribas, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, Brookfield Property Partners, Neutrogena, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Dress for Success. To learn more about coaching with Alissa, please visit her website and follow her on Facebook