Finishing strong is always the goal, but for many the struggle is not finishing but rather getting started. For some, the dreams and goals exist yet for others they have no idea where they want to go so they remain at start and go nowhere.
The last thing people want to do is look back on their lives and say, “I wish I would have…” Time is no respecter of people, and to each is allotted 24 hours a day. How you spend it is up to you. How you start is up to you. How you finish is up to you.
So the question is why do people get stuck at the starting line? Several reasons exist for delayed starts.
Before we look at these, let’s look at what happens in a marathon. Runners have arrived after many weeks of preparation; clothing was perfectly selected, a healthy breakfast was consumed, warm ups took place and the runner has familiarized himself or herself with the course. The start gun sounds, and the runners roll out as the crowd excitedly cheers them on, adding to the motivation as they leave the starting line. Time flies by in the first few kilometers only later to often feel like a lonely stretch of distance left to the runner and random thoughts that filter through his or her mind. The runner quickly realizes the crowd’s cheers have silenced, and they are racing only against themselves. It is now up to them to stay motivated the distance with an occasional pat on the back of camaraderie that passes them by.
Again as the home stretch nears, and the crowd can be heard again with loud cheers of excitement as the runner has completed the difficult goal and finally reached their awaiting medal of accomplishment and meal at the finish line.
In the marathon of life, many will approach the starting line geared up and ready to go. They will have all the excitement of their new idea, their dream, their goal but have developed what I call “treadmill mentalities” when it comes to the take off. They are excited but running in place and gaining no ground.
Treadmill mentalities will keep you looking at the same four walls, never realizing what lies down the road. There will be no mountain-top experiences, no running streams, no fields of flowers, no rainbows or sandy beaches. Even though the legs may be moving, it doesn’t necessarily move the body. The marathon of life is won with the head not the legs.
Reasons people stay stuck at the starting line include:
• Poor conditioning and preparation: People often do not prepare for the task they take. Research may be required to determine cliental, food, dress code, expectations, needs, etc. It doesn’t do any good to have a plan and find out you don’t have the tools to initiate the plan.
• Daydreaming: People often dream about how great it’s going to be when they reach the finish line. They may think about all the things they are going to do, buy, invest in, people they are going to help, etc. But all this is wasted time when they are still running in place.
• Distractions: People will often be distracted by countless things, other people’s race, television, entertainment, etc.
• Fear: People often fear what lies down the road. They know what they have and even though it isn’t always favorable it is predictable. The problem is predictability will never equal accessibility when fear remains in control.
• Poor self-image: People who struggle with confidence are usually the last to believe that life can give them beauty from ashes, mansions from huts, friendships from loneliness and happiness from heartache. They are often the ones who get excited when everyone is cheering them on with their new idea, goal, dream, etc., but when they are in it several miles, months or years down the road and the camraderie is not around, they grow weary in the race.
• Setbacks: People often view setbacks as the odds set against them, and effort turns to exasperation and defeat before they taste the awaiting victory. Long-distance runners don’t get discouraged by the rain. A cool refreshing – not soggy – setback is their mindset. A setback is a setup for another opportunity to sprout forth that might expand the potential of greater success.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,” Hebrews 12:1.
It’s time to trade treadmill mentalities for marathon mentalities and get on your mark, get set and go get your victory and cross the finish line.
Ann Haney is a mother to six entrepreneurial minded children, ordained minister, CEO of Aaron Publishing, founder of Ann Haney Ministries and Living In Abundance, nationwide motivational speaker, coupon specialist, empowerment coach and bestselling author of 20 published products, including her books, “Judgment Overruled,” “Exploding Into Successful Entrepreneurship,” “Single Steps In A Married World” and “Changing Your Life Through Couponing Financial Empowerment Series.” Ann Haney’s vision is helping women know the root of their challenge and deliver them from the death grip it holds on their life by surfacing their inner beauty and confidence, helping young people discover their God-given purpose and pursue it with passion, helping men and women learn to use the resources available to them to overcome their circumstances and helping those recovering from life’s choices and challenges receive second chances without condemnation. Contact Ann at [email protected] to schedule a speaking engagement, individual coaching or view her website for more information at annhaney.com.