Running the Race – Part One

starting line

When will you be successful? Think about it for a moment. If you’re like most people, what comes to mind is someday—somewhere off in the future, when you’ll suddenly wake up and think, “I made it! I’m a success!” That’s how most unsuccessful people see success: as something to strive for and hope to reach “someday.”

At one time, I viewed success as a place where I would “arrive” – a destination to reach. This lead to “destination disease” – the belief that if I just arrive somewhere (e.g. attain a position, accomplish a goal, earn a certain income, own the right house), I’d be successful.

But after viewing my novel on the shelf at Barnes and Noble with my kids (and it was a cool moment to point at “Daddy’s book”), I was consumed by the urge to keep writing … and writing … and writing. I realize now that success is never about reaching a destination. Rather, it’s a never-ending journey of finding a purpose, growing to reach your maximum potential, and helping others. It’s a marathon that will test and strengthen your character, not a quick sprint to a dead-end winner’s circle.

Yet, in this success marathon so many people never get out of the starting blocks. Why? Because a procrastinating spirit overtakes us. Procrastination is caused by our perception that doing a certain task will cause some kind of discomfort. We generally procrastinate for the following reasons:

  • Fear of failure –  afraid that we’ll fall flat on our face, we never summon the courage to start.
  • Fear of success – afraid that once we achieve something, we’ll have no other purpose to drive or fulfill us.
  • Difficulty of the task – the complexity of the process to achieve the goal overwhelms us.
  • Monotony or boredom – the tasks associated with starting seem mundane.
  • Time demands – competing interests prevent us from sacrificing time to get started.

Here are nine techniques to help overcome procrastination:

  1. Break large tasks down into smaller ones.
  2. Set deadlines and stick to them.
  3. Share your goals with a friend who will hold you accountable.
  4. Reward yourself for completing the task.
  5. Use scheduling to set specific times for unpleasant tasks.
  6. Make a game of the task.
  7. Focus on the benefits of completing the task.
  8. Pick a simple task to begin.
  9. Just do it! (don’t wait for motivation)

Before anyone can ever say, “well done,” you have to “well do.” Don’t wait for the starter’s pistol (or any other authority) to signal that it’s okay to start running. Remember, the first two letters of “goal” are … GO!

Just start running.