When was the last time someone gave you a medal for a job well done? We don’t always get a chance to celebrate the results of our hard work, but when we do, it is certainly a feeling to relish. Just because we don’t always get a trophy, or a certificate, or even a pat on the back in recognition of our work, that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate our successes on our own and reward the time we’ve put in to make it happen.
Today, I had the distinct pleasure of watching some of my friends run the PF Chang’s Half Marathon in Phoenix. I am not a runner, but I do bring a high level of sideline enthusiasm. As I watched them run past mile marker 11, closing in on the finish-line, I thought back to all of the time they had put into training – all of the early morning runs, the hours spent at the gym, and the afternoons spent resting their sore legs on the coach. I imagined how accomplished they felt as they neared closer and closer to finally crossing that finish line that had lingered in front of them through months of training.
I thought about how we’re all running our own marathons in our lives. We’re all working hard each day toward something. We’re all making sacrifices with our time, planning out our work schedule, and wondering how long it’ll be until we reach our goals. But, unlike a marathon, sometimes those goals and the paths to get there are vague and undefined.
Define Your Finish Line
The finish line of a race is very clearly marked, but what about other successes in our lives? How do we know that we’ve ever “made it” and that our hard work has paid off? Nebulous goals like “success” need tangible check points so we can both keep track of our progress and also give ourselves a pat on the back for a job well done. If you never take your nose away from the grindstone long enough to celebrate your successes, you may find yourself burned out long before you get where you thought it was you wanted to go.
Develop a Training Plan
If you want to run a marathon, there is no shortage of training plans available to help you prepare for a race of that magnitude. However, sometimes your path might be less trodden and more difficult to figure out. That doesn’t mean you can move forward without a plan. A novice runner seeks advice from an expert before developing a training schedule, and you similarly will save yourself time and energy by seeking advice from someone who has experience in whatever it is you want to do.
Bring Your Cheerleaders
When I asked where I should stand as a spectator at the half marathon, I was told to stake out a spot somewhere during the last two miles, because that’s when the runners need it most. Sure enough, when I asked my friend about the race, she told me that she had wanted to start walking, but knew I was going to be standing at the next mile marker and wanted to be running when she passed me. Our friends keep us going when we want to quit. Their encouragement motivates us and keeps us smiling. However, we can’t forget to ask for the support. I am not a marathon runner. I don’t really see it as a spectator sport and would never have thought to come stand on the sidelines, but my friends asked me to and I was more than eager to help out.
Whatever marathon you are training for in life right now, set yourself up for success with the right tools and cross the finish line with a smile.
Photo Credit: Free Digital Photos.net