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For most of us, racing is all about the finish line.
It is the focus of our goals: Will we make it? How fast can we get there? What place can we be in when we cross that line?
It is the center of our plans, as we strategically map out the route we must take to arrive there with the best possible outcome.
It is the subject of our dreams, as we visualize ourselves crossing that line in triumph, and the fuel to our fire as we work each day to bring those dreams to life.
It is the measure around which we judge our success—or at least how it is judged from the outside, when we are inevitably asked, “How did you finish?!”
Yes, when it comes to racing, finish lines are the pinnacle.
But what about the start line…?
In my opinion, start lines don’t get the recognition they deserve for their own major role in the racing world. And more importantly, we aren’t giving ourselves enough recognition for just what it means to stand at one.
Getting from start to finish at any race is a journey, and one that should be celebrated. But as we all know, the journey to that finish line starts way before the gun goes off.
In fact, by the time we arrive at the start line of any given race, the majority of the journey is already behind us. Yes, we’ve still got a hard day ahead, but we’ve already done the bulk of the work. We’ve put in the hours, even when we didn’t always want to. We’ve pushed through the tough moments, endured the pain, and overcome the challenges. We’ve had missteps and failures alongside each progress and achievement, and become stronger versions of ourselves through it all. We’ve grown and we’ve learned, and we’ve found confidence and courage. We’ve shown our commitment to achieving our goals. Because finish lines aren’t given; they are earned.
But, as we’ve now recognized, so too are start lines.
It takes a lot to arrive at a start line healthy, happy, fully prepared, and ready to put your best foot forward. Frankly, that’s a huge achievement in itself!
Too often, by the time we get to the start of a race, we are so focused on the finish and the goals still ahead that we forget to acknowledge just how far we’ve already come, and just how much it took to get to there. We forget to give ourselves credit for the road already traveled. And that’s a shame, because it’s something that deserves to be recognized, and celebrated—just like the finish line.
So the next time you line up to race, I encourage you to pause for a minute to fully appreciate the start line and all it represents. Reflect on the steps that led you here, take pride in the work you’ve done, and revel in the promise of the opportunity that lies before you as a result. Take it all in, and savor the moment.
After all, you earned it.