Sunday, September 25, 2016

The Invisible Line

When you run a race, you know where the starting line is and you know where the finish line will be. Sometimes it is 3.1 miles away, sometimes 13.1, and for all those die-hard runners it could 26.2 miles away. You might not be able to physically see the finish line, but you know what must be done to get there.

Last week I ran a 5K, and the starting line and finish line were the same. I knew I had to get back to the big arch of purple and white balloons. That was the seventh 5K race I've done, and I'm by no means a professional runner, so for all of you awesome runners out there read this in relation to a much longer race. I just picked running up about 5 years ago and do these little races to challenge myself. During that race my thoughts turned towards completing goals, and this It Works journey I am on.

Last year I had set a PR in this race, and I was hoping to hit that mark again (or beat it). I knew it would be tough for me since I hadn't had the greatest sleep the last 2 nights. Here is how it progressed...

Mile One: I was ahead of my PR pace.

Mile Two: I was still ahead of my PR pace.

But then as Mile Three began we suddenly turned into the wind and my tired body took over. I can pretty easily run a 5K (albeit not quickly), so for me to falter after 2 miles was unusual for me. My legs started dragging, but I kept pushing my body because I knew how much further I had to go. I continued to push on because I knew the mile markers were marking my journey and I could SEE the finish line. Off in the distance those purple and white balloons were blowing in the wind. My mind talked my body out of stopping...I just had a little more to go.

But...what if I hadn't been able to see the finish line? Would I have had the gumption to keep going? What about you...What if someone told you to go run a race, but you didn't know how long it would be or when you would ever see that finish line? You have a goal of finishing the race, but you just have no idea how long it will take. Would you have the endurance to keep going? Would you keep fighting for that goal?

This got me to thinking about my It Works journey. I am going to be very real and open here. I have had doubts lately because my 3 year anniversary is fast approaching and I am not close to where I thought I'd be. I contemplated throwing in the towel. As I ran it got me to analyze why I felt like I could throw in the towel on a business I have worked so hard for, but yet when my body wanted to collapse last week my mind was able to convince it to keep going. WHY!?!?

For me, it is because I could SEE the finish line. I knew if I pushed for 5 or 10 minutes more the END would be in sight. But, with It Works we are given no timeline for our goals. No one says, if you work hard for 3 months you'll hit Ruby (a promotional level in our company). Or, push hard for 10 months and you know at the end you'll be a Diamond. For that reason myself and others might lose motivation to reach our goal because we can't SEE it. There are no purple and white balloons (in our case they would be black and green) blowing in the distance to lead us to that goal.

So, how do you keep your endurance to reach your goals? For me, when I run a race I start right away by picking a person in front of me and then I chase them. When I pass them, then I pick another and chase them, and then another, and so on. Eventually I cross that finish line. With It Works my "runner" is one of the reasons I started this journey in the first place. I'm looking to help my family with our financial struggles. Shouldn't that keep me going? But, truth be told, it is hard to keep pushing. I KNOW it is great motivation, but the drive and motivation is harder to maintain when no finish line is given.

I have quickly realized that with anything in life be it business related or not, I can't lose sight of the finish line, even though I never have been given a set time to know when I'll cross it. I need to stay motivated (chase those runners) along the way to keep moving by setting incremental goals along the way. And, in the end, I have to remember that every little goal along the way (no matter the size of the runner you are chasing) is a successful journey.

But, unlike a race, my finish line will keep moving. Once I cross that Ruby finish line, my next finish line will be Emerald and so on.

I didn't make my PR last week. At first I was upset about it, but then I thought....No way, I still should be proud because I accomplished my goal. My race wasn't how I planned it, but I DID it. Will it take me 3 1/2 years to hit Ruby? 5? Only God knows that. I just need to keep setting one goal at a time and enjoy the journey along the way.

Simply put....

"The finish line is just the beginning of a whole new race."
- Unknown - 

This summer, when I ran on the beach in Oregon I felt like I could run forever. There was no visual end in sight, much like setting goals that have no visual end or time constraint to them. 

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