RYC 009 – A Good Start, A Great Finish

Everything has a beginning. The general rule with regards to most things that have a beginning is that they must end. Quite sad, but it is what it is and there is nothing we can do change to it. We would live happily and perhaps much longer if we learn to deal with things as they stand. Life begins and life ends. What matters is the space in between.

Since we always talk about running on this podcast and we are all runners (I hope we are all runners), I think it is appropriate for me to mention that the difference between the starting and the finishing lines, is the distance in between. To move from start to finish you have to do the distance. There is no way around it. If you want a medal for finishing the run, you’ll have to brave the distance and get running. You will have to breathe heavily, sweat profusely and even feel the pain but the finish line would be waiting for you to cross it, you will have to ignore all the troubles you’ll think you have and keep pushing yourself until you reach the finish line.

Mind How You Start.

Before a car manufacturer begins to physically put a car together, they make sure that they know what the proposed car should look like. They would have someone to first design it on paper and then make sure they understand what components they need to include to complete a fully functional car. I doubt they would ever be able to build a car without a clear image of the model.

In the same way, a good start begins with a sense of direction and adequate preparation. What makes a good start is a preparation. Preparation would make the moving from start to finish manageable. When one is well prepared, they would be able to handle unexpected situations that might arrive on the way. Each step is understood and allocated its own time and place in the process of completing the project at hand. Good preparation is dependent on one’s cognizance of the endpoint.

In the case of running, one has to be cognizant of the distance to run, the weather conditions in which they will be running, the fitness level of the body before the run and necessary steps to be taken to complete the run successfully.

It is important to mind how you start anything. In many cases, your start will affect the way you finish. When I do my long runs, if I start too fast I struggle a lot towards the end of the run. I barely have energy. I have come to realize that to finish strong and fast, I need to take it slow at the start. Just like yesterday. Yesterday, I went on a 10 km run after seven days of inactivity. I know that the run was going to be difficult and that my body was out of shape. I entered the run knowing that the 10 km run will not be like others I did. The route I was going to do has its own challenges and a good estimation of how long it was going to take me to finish the run was one hour and fifteen minutes. The reason for this is that I was going to intentionally run slower than usual. I was able to finish yesterday’s run in one hour and seven minutes. I couldn’t have done this successfully if I had not prepared myself from the start.

 Learn To Correct Yourself

During each run I do, I always listen to my body and with the help of the app on my phone I can track my progress easily. I am always aware of my progress and can judge during the run if I can make it to the finish or not. When I feel that I might not make it to the finish line, I back off. I reduce my speed until my body recovers and gradually pick the pace up. When I am running by myself as is always the case, I have to understand that I am my coach.

When I anticipate that I might compromise my running session or my health, I autocorrect. There are days where I have completely changed the route in the middle of the run. I would keep the distance but the route would be completely different. The point is when you are running just by yourself, you are in control and you can decide anything. You get to own the run and are in charge of what goes on in it.

This is true in many areas of life. We have seen plans going sideways, whether it is at work or in a formal function. A well-planned event will always have backup plans just in case things go wrong. For example, an outdoor wedding ceremony could be ruined by the change in the weather. A highly experienced and considerate wedding planner would always have a secondary venue prepared just in case the heavens open up and shower down their priceless blessing.

So when situations arise and they seek to drive you off course, learn to adapted and correct yourself to compensate for lost time. The sailors in olden days, before I was born: they understood the concept of auto-correction. When the winds were in their favor the sails would each be in a particular angle but when the winds change directions, they changed the angles of the sails to manipulate the wind and still get to move towards the desired direction. Sometime they would zig-zag across the sea just to go forward against the wind or even against the current.

Find a way to track how you are doing in your projects or your running activities and learn to correct yourself to avoid going very far in the wrong direction. It costs less to make a minor correction than to start the whole project scratch. It cost less to arrive at the finish line three minutes late than to arrive early with a torn muscle.

Learn From Your Mistakes

The truth is we all have made mistakes. We have made poor judgments in many situations. For us to successfully autocorrect, we need to remember and draw valuable lessons from our past mistakes. We should avoid repeating them. It is also wise to read up, listen to podcasts or watch videos with the sole purpose of learning from other people’s mistakes. A wise man learns from other people’s mistakes before he makes his own. It is foolishness to repeat other people’s mistakes when you have witnessed the cost and trouble they subsequently bring.

The year is coming to an end. We must remember the mistakes we have made this year and make sure that we do not repeat them next year. Growth occurs when we acknowledge our mistakes and learn from them. My message to anyone listening or reading this post is, in whatever it is you are doing, whether it is running or work, strive to be the best version of yourself and do the best you can afford.

Have a clear picture of the endpoint in your mind. What do you need to do to improve your life and the lives of those around you? Who can help you achieve that? Are you going to need money? Where are you going to get the money? How are you going to get the money?

For one to get a good start, they need to have a clear vision of the end. The rest is to fill the space in between.

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