On Less Than a Shoestring

By Neetal Parekh on July 27, 2009 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Considering the delicate state of the economy, the recent announcements of cutting back (or completely cutting out) of summer internship programs, layoffs in law firms and legal departments as a norm and not an exception, and the somehow constant economy-proof stream of lawyer jokes, we hear the incredulous rumble of law associates across the legal spectrum---"can we catch a break around here?!"

When life gets rough, pitch a tent. And when you have a goal, think beyond big. 

The recent exploits of founder and CEO of internet marketing firm OvercomeAnything, Tellman Knudson, are catching peoples' attention and remind us that sometimes it's just mind over matter.  And sometimes getting a new perspective is all about taking your shoes off.

Knudson is endeavoring to run 3200 miles from New York City to Los Angeles to raise $100 million for homeless teens---and he's doing it on the soles of his feet.  Yup, without high tech gel-cushioned kicks, ergonomic shoestrings, anti-chafing wool sports socks, or reinforced arch supports---he's taking on the country commando from the ankles down.

Like the mantra he named his company, Knudson believes he (and anyone) can overcome anything with the right focus, training, and willpower.  His belief is given all the more steam when considering he had to overcome major obstacles to even walk without tripping.  Born with a condition called femoral anteversion, his thigh bones twisted inwards causing his knees and feet to do the same.  By high school it was a struggle to walk without stumbling let alone run a marathon---or 122 consecutive ones in a row.  He was asked by friends to join the cross country team and though he faced looks, laughs, and pointing initially, as his muscles strengthened they actually pulled his bones in line.  He left high school a regular running man, with a few broken records under his belt.

When friend, billionaire, and philanthropist Sir Richard Branson mentioned his effort to raise funds for the more than 1 million homeless youth in the U.S., Knudson knew he wanted to get involved.  He initially aimed to raise an astounding $20 million for the cause, but after meeting with Branson in person--he decided to up the ante to a staggering $100 million, and added the no-shoe spin.  He pledges that every penny of the $100 M will go to the charity, Virgin United.

So if you find yourself watching Judge Judy when you used to be delivering your own opening arguments or wishing for a new, exciting challenge---think big and work harder...and you might find it---with your shoes on.

Knudson is planning to kick off his run on September 9th 2009.


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