A few days before Edinburgh marathon, I was cycling along to meet my runners and a feather fell out of the sky. It floated down in front of me like that scene in Forest Gump and I thought to myself “It’s a sign!”

Then I thought, “I should catch it and make a wish, or is that falling leaves?” I was too late to reach out my hand but as my bike rolled forwards, I moved into the feather’s path and it caught on my jacket. It seemed that this feather wasn’t taking no for an answer.

I picked it off my jacket, made a wish and blew it up into the sky as I carried on cycling. “Hang on, is that eyelashes that you wish on and blow? Was I supposed to keep it? But it might have pigeon fleas.”

All this took place in a matter of seconds. And then my next thought was this:


I believe in making wishes. I believe they serve a great purpose in clarifying for us what it is that we really want in this moment. You’ve got one wish, what is it that you desire above all other things? It’s a way of reflecting on what’s important.

But you’re not going to get what you want through magic. You have to work for it. A pigeon feather isn’t going to help me reach my goal in any race, turning up each week through training and putting in the miles will.

When I wish on a feather or a leaf or an eyelash or a shooting star, I usually wish for things that are beyond my control: for a friend or family member who is sick, for good weather, for a safe flight. Because I can’t do anything to change those things.

For things that I want that are down to me, the only way of getting them is to put in the effort and work towards them. No amount of wishing alone will get you round a marathon, or a new job or a new house, or whatever it is that you want. These are things to work towards. Wishing might show you what’s important to you, but it’s down to you to go get it.

I wished I could write a book, I wished I could run a marathon. Neither of those things happened by magic. One day I had to decide to start writing and start running. Many days later, after much hard work, my wishes came true.

So next time you find yourself wishing for something, ask yourself this: what one thing can I do today to help me work towards this thing I’ve wished for? And then go do it.