Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Running Your Own Race

by Karen D. Swim

Yesterday, many of you shared your own goals and thoughts.

Adrienne Van Houten is headed on a fabulous cruise but upon her return plans on hitting Curves. "My goal is not a set weight amount to lose, but to stick to it and make it work for me."

Ellen Wilson had a small goal of getting film scanned yesterday but offer remarkable insight about goals. "Sometimes if I look too far into the future it freaks me out and I can't get anything done. Or I get depressed. Or both!"

Amy Palko is finishing her long-held goal of attaining her PhD and offered these thoughts: "Now that it's coming close to the time when that goal will be achieved, I'm having to sit and reassess precisely these questions of what it means to me. And it's a difficult answer to articulate. It's tightly bound up with pride, ambition, career opportunities, skills acquired. But it's also taken on something new, as the achievement of this goal will now allow me to move on to set some new goals, and that's what I'm getting really excited about!"

Andre Blackman has a passion for the health of others as well as his own. "I've started back into the gym just so I can feel a little better about myself as well as maintain my health. Had a wake up call not too long ago and it's time to stop playing around!

I also have goals about transforming the way we all think about our health in this Digital Age - this post is exactly what I needed to read today!"


Goals give our lives structure, a reason to keep moving forward. Like the mile markers in a race, goals tell us where we are and how far we still must run.

In a marathon there are hundreds, or thousands of runners lining up for the same race. All will start in the same place and all will cross the same finish line. However, the journey from start to finish will be as different as the reasons and training plans that got them there.

Runners may finish in 2 hours, 4 hours and some may take 8 but for all that finish the victory is the same. Crossing the finish line is the completion of a goal no matter how long it takes you to get there.

We can draw inspiration from others who have accomplished similar goals, but we all must run our own race, and in our own way. By all means get a training plan, learn from others who have walked the same road, but adjust as necessary to fit your unique needs and style.

On my first trip to a running store I stuck out like a sore thumb. I felt like a Clydesdale among a herd of gazelles. I was not long and lithe, and had not been running for 20 years. I had just started getting in shape and could aptly be described as chunky and spunky. Yet there I was lacing up my sneakers just as they were and training for a distance that many had run. My enthusiasm for my goal was not dampened by others who had done it better and faster. This was my goal and I would finish it.

Whatever your goals are pursue them with enthusiasm. Lace up every day and take a step as you make them happen. Don't be discouraged if you find yourself at the back of the pack, just keep moving, you'll get there. And if you're a front runner, run your race! Don't be held back by the conventional wisdom of others, it is your race, own it!

Have you ever been discouraged from pursuing a goal? How did you overcome the challenge?

Photo Credit: Brownpau,


Anonymous said...

I just loved what you had to say about the individuality inherent in all goal-setting:
"We can draw inspiration from others who have accomplished similar goals, but we all must run our own race, and in our own way." This really resonates with my own experience!

As for a time when I was discouraged from a goal - unhappily this occurs all too often in academia. It's fiercely competitive, and there have been times when either I or my plans for advancement have taken a knock delivered by a fellow student or colleague. I find discussing the situation with those that love me best puts me right back on track again. They lift me up and give me strength, as it doesn't occur to them that I won't achieve my goal. Or if it does they don't let it show!
Another great motivational post, Karen. I'm so enjoying this week's run :-)

Words For Hire said...

@ Amy, I have interacted with and read much about academia and it is definitely not for the faint of heart. I'm so glad that this week's run is without pain and suffering. :-) Thank you Amy for your encouragement!


Brad Shorr said...

Karen, your story is a wonderful example of mind over matter. When I get discouraged from pursuing a goal, usually it's because I'm think too much about the downsides. When I finally pulled the trigger and started my own business, it was because I stopped thinking and just did it. I must have seen a Nike commercial!

Words For Hire said...

@Brad, LOL! Well those Nike commercials can be pretty motivating. Your point is a great one for us to consider. After you've analyzed, weighed pros and cons at some point you really do have to take the leap. Robert Hruzek of Middle Zone Musings posts on Life Changing Decisions illustrate this dilemma beautifully. Sometimes we pull the trigger and there are times when it is pulled for us! I'm glad you started your business Brad, otherwise I would never have learned the meaning of abbatoir. :-)


Robyn McMaster said...

Goals are extremely important to me because they help me keep my eyes on what I want to accomplish. When I put a picture of that near my computer or I write it out as a one line poem and put it there, it helps me sift past those things that would take me off the tracks.

Thanks for a great post, Karen.

Words For Hire said...

@Robyn, I included your comment in the latest post. I love your suggestion of visual reminders and I use them too. I appreciate your wisdom on this and hope you'll pop back in and share your tips and strategies.

Thank you Robyn!


ellen wilson said...

Funny, today I write about chaos, and you write about structure. But in the end, yes, we all get there.

Sometimes Karen, just getting up and going through it all is overcoming the problems associated with my goals. One step at a time.

Thanks for the links to others, it was interesting hearing what everyone else had to say.

Oh, I like your new widget. I might have to get one myself. Good idea. e

ellen wilson said...

@Amy - Yeah, academia can be vicious. I never understood that though, higher learning should be about helping and cultivating talent, not ripping it apart. But you know me, an idealist to the end.

sexy said...