Image by Myriam Zilles from Pixabay

Whatever establishment that is recognized as one of the greatest in the world started somewhere humble. We only see and appreciate the grandeur now but there is a lot that happened to bring about the grandeur. If we could look back at the history of the greatest and well known businesses in the world, which have lasted for decades and even for centuries, we would discover that many people did not believe they would ever last.

Even nature show us this. Take for example a devastating thunderstorm, it starts off as a small cloud and over a short time you see in front of you a huge dark cloud with impressive lightnings bolting in every direction. Rain comes pouring down flooding the streets, planes and rivers. If someone told you it started with a small cloud, as big as a hand you may find it hard to believe them.

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Our bodies are made up of billions, if not trillions of very small cells. Today we see a baby after being born and we take it for granted that a baby is small. The truth is, a new born baby is bigger than what it used to be on the day it was conceived. When it was conceived, it was only one tiny cell. It took a lot of sleepless nights, back aches and a whole lot of discomforts for nine long months to grow a baby from a tiny small cell to a self centered, attention demanding little bundle of joy. With that being said I am not going to venture into letting you in on a secret on how to grow a little baby boy into a fully grown life striken grey headed man.

Think of the biggest tree you have ever seen. Take note of how big was its trunk, how wide were its branches and how amazing was the sight of it. Though such a tree is big and weighs many tons, it remains a fact that the tree in question was planted long time ago and it was then just an insignificant small plant. Some miserable creature could have easily plucked it up and destroyed it. We are glad that did not happen because we would not be appreciating its apparent size and the shade it provides.

In the context of running, it is important to keep in mind that great things have a beginning and their beginnings are not the same and they are not as pretty as the media would have us imagine. The greatest runners with worldwide recognition started off as “nobodies” and their success was not handed to them on a silver platter. They had to work hard for it.

LONG DISTANCE RUN

Look at the men and women who run half, mega and ultra marathons. They did not wake up one morning and decide to run that long. They started small. Maybe with one kilometer and then gradually progressed to five kilometers. Over months and in some cases years, they were ready to run over 13.1 miles or 21.1 kilometers.

I had done three runs that were over 20 kilometers long. What I remember about those runs is that I could only worry about running a kilometer at a time. For a twenty kilometer session, I had to run one kilometer at a time and do that twenty times. Each long run begins with a small distance. It all starts with small steps, one foot in front of another and repeat.

IN OTHER PARTS OF LIFE

The concept of small beginnings is applicable in every part of life. A person who have a dream to build a great business must understand that small steps matters. Just like a huge wall is built one brick at a time, so will a great business be built one small step at a time. One needs the passion and patience to do the work until it is finished.

Sometimes people give up to early on their endeavors simply because it seems impossible to reach the desired end. This challenge can be overcome by adjusting the way one looks at the world. Instead of looking at a mammoth and doubt if you can ever finish it, focus on the taking small bites which you can manage. Over time you’ll find yourself at end of your project.

I enjoy looking at the ants. There is so much wisdom to be learned from them. Everybody knows that ants are very small insects. Despite the given fact, they are not afraid to attempt big projects. They will work together to break a locust into small pieces and take it to their ant store-rooms (whatever they are called). They don’t say, “Oh no, what a big locust! What are we going to do? We are too small for this. I guess we should just give up and go home.” We should learn from the ants.

MY BIBLE SCHOOL DAYS

I remember that before I went to Bible, I looked at three years as a very long time. By my weird estimation, by the time three years ended I would have grown grey hair. After acquiring enough courage and motivation to start Bible College, I realized that I did not need to do three years at once. I only needed one day at a time. A day became a week and week turned into a month and a month into a year. Soon enough while my hair was still black, I had finished three years at Bible College. I would not have completed it if I kept looking at the three years as a solid insurmountable obstacle on my way.

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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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