Will You Sprint?
Most workouts I’m accustomed to have a specific number of sets and reps. Maybe three sets of ten reps. As we complete these workouts, we are careful to be sure to count our reps. And, we typically stop at the scripted number.
Crossfit-style workouts have become popular over the last several years and offer a variation to the traditional set-rep model. Many workouts in the Crossfit model require you to do a certain exercise as many times as possible in a given amount of time. Your score for the workout is usually your lowest rep count in the allotted time.
Not counting the reps is close to a catastrophic event. You either have to guess or repeat the round, neither of which make you feel good about the workout.
The same mindset surrounds running. Ask a group of friends if they want to go for a run and one of the first questions will be, how far are we running?
I share these examples simply to highlight the finality mindset we have become accustomed to in virtually all parts of our life.
Why Should We Care?
Here’s the problem with it though: it doesn’t apply in the most important aspects of our life. The ones that really matter, that your friends talk about when you’re not around, that we share at your funeral ... those are centered on things in your life that you can’t count and that don’t end.
Your relationships, your faith, your personal growth, and your pursuit of excellence do not fall into the finality mindset bucket. There is no destination on these. We can’t get to a point that is “good enough”. As Coach Z used to say: “That’s the funny thing about good enough … it never is.”
There is nothing wrong with goals having specific destinations or end times. I like to think of them as benchmarks rather than goals, but what you call them is secondary to your overall understanding of their use.
Benchmarks, or goals as they are described here, are nothing more than small, tangible evidence of progress. However, everything is not good about goals. At times, the achievement of, or failure to achieve, a goal will lead directly to that finality mindset. People become so consumed by the benchmarks and minor victories that they lose sight of the true mission: Growth.
REAL TALK - Action Steps
The realization that there is no finish line should be a freeing thought. Mistakes can be absorbed and used as growth and the race is never over. Remembering that in the daily grind is difficult. Here are a few ideas to keep that long term mentality front and center.
The courage that’s required to sprint when you’re not sure about the finish line is different. But, excellence is different. Anything great in life requires different. Even if those around you are slowing down or dipping their toes into the water to check the temperature, don’t do it. Sprint … Do a cannon ball!
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I'm a teacher, coach, and parent seeking excellence while defining success on my own terms.