There are common excuses I have heard – and made – when the race gets difficult on the way to the finish line in a race – and in life and leadership.
I try to exercise as often as possible. Often my travel schedule makes it more difficult to do everyday, but I know for my personal health and well-being exercise is an important part of life and leadership. So, I have to be creative.
Before knee problems, I was an avid runner. I ran for pleasure, but also in quite a few races. I’ve even run a marathon and numerous half marathons. I learned, however, distance is relative. If a 5K is your milestone, then it will be a long race. I once met a guy who runs the 100 mile races.
Good for him.
One thing I learned, however, if you’re pushing yourself at some point along the race you’ll struggle. It will go from being “fun” to being a challenge. Ask any serious runner.
I’ve also discovered – and this is the good part – without those stretching moments, there wouldn’t be near as much thrill of crossing the finish line.
There is nothing quite like running (or hobbling in my case) across the 26.2 mile marker of a marathon.
Here’s something else I’ve observed. There’s a common language among those struggling – at the point of greatest struggle. And often excuses we tell ourselves.
I think you’ll find these very life and leadership applicable.
Run any distance race and you’ll hear people express frustration out loud.
Common excuses I’ve heard when the race is hard:
- I can’t do this.
- This is harder than I thought.
- I’m not a runner.
- Why did I sign up for this?
- This is crazy.
- I’m never doing another one of these.
- I’m in pain
Yet, here’s something else I’ve observed.
I’ve never met a runner, who crossed the finish line, who didn’t receive the thrill of victory – even if it was only after they threw up in a trashcan nearby.
The completion of a dream – a goal – a challenge – feels great after crossing the finish line.
- Have you been ready to give up a dream?
- Are you fearing the next steps?
- Do you feel in over your head?
- Are you afraid? In pain? Having to stretch yourself simply to keep going?
- Do you think this job is bigger than you can do?
- Are the steps ahead confusing, overwhelming, or seemingly unbearable?
Often you simply need a little motivation – a little push. I’ve experienced one brief prayer give me the strength to keep going. Whatever it takes – don’t quit too soon!
For inspiration, read from the Bible Judges 6 and 7 and the story of one of my favorite Bible characters Gideon. (Notice God called him “valiant warrior” before Gideon knew he was.” Judges 6:12)
Get help if you need it. Never be afraid to admit your weaknesses. Call out to friends, advisors and, of course, God. Keep growing as a person and a leader. Do all you know to do, but keep putting one step in front of the other. Often it’s that next step that makes the turn towards the finish line.
You don’t want to miss the thrill of crossing the finish line. No one can take that thrill away from you.