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March 9, 2020

It Is Not A Race

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I want to take this one back to an early lesson I learned in life from my mom. Since then, it’s taken a few different forms, but it remains sound advice.

It is not a race.

Now, my mom said this to slow me and my older brother down from competing against each other in everything and anything we did growing up. When the competition got to dangerous levels, either from a safety or relationship standpoint, my mom would get in between us and shout "I.N.A.R.", which stood for  it’s not a race. Her words would immediately moderate the situation. My mom was helped us reflect on the state of our effort, and bring us down back to a more reasonable and sustainable level.

As I said that out loud, I heard just how true that is today also. We expect such big things from ourselves which causes us to stretch ourselves thin and push ourselves to what could be considered dangerous levels. I’m guilty of this too, but I try to remind myself that it’s not a race! In order to do great things, we need to be patient and understand that there is a process and incremental progress. If we ramp up too quickly, and don’t incorporate sustainable practices, we won’t make it to that future pay off because we will feel invalidated, burn out, and lose motivation.

Now, having said that, yes, ambition is good. Dream Big is one my personal core values, and there are ways to improve our productivity while catering to baseline sustainability. But that doesn’t mean we should expect immediate results. It is not a race, and we’re all on our own trajectory and path. It’s not the difference between a marathon and a sprint, it’s understanding that the core objective is to finish to the best of your capabilities.

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