The hardest race I ever ran was a half marathon that finished up a hill. On the surface, the event was perfectly ordinary.
Perfect weather, great conditions, great energy. With one mile to go I felt great.
Then with 500 yards left, I stopped.
I couldn’t see the finish line.
I was tired, running uphill, nearly to the end but unable to see the final destination.
I let my feelings of exhaustion and doubt overtake me.
It didn’t matter that the crowds were increasing or that I’d passed the last aid station a couple miles back. I had plenty of evidence the finish line just ahead.
But a hard left turn 100 yards from the actual finish line created a visual barrier between me and the end of the race.
I let one turn, 100 yards in front of me, cause doubt.
Enough doubt that I simply gave up.
Just before I got to the end.
I didn’t trust myself enough to know that I hat it in me to finish. I didn’t trust my body enough to carry me through. Doubt overcame me. It was hard. I couldn’t see an end. So I stopped running.
Then I turned the corner and there it was. Right in front of me. Just out of site, but so, so, close at hand.
It’s not the stopping that was painful.
What made it painful was the deep knowledge that I could have kept going. I had it in me.
And I gave up simply because I didn’t have the physical evidence I wanted to prove I could do it. I wanted the sight of the finish line to carry me though. I wanted to see the finish line with my own eyes to tell me I could do it. Even though I already knew I could.
What barriers are standing in your way of a perfect finish in some aspect of your life? Can you see past them? Take a few minutes, step back and feel yourself crossing the finish line. Really feel the relief, excitement, joy – whatever it is. Hold that feeling and then ask yourself how you want to get there. How do you want the last 100 yards to go down? Run those last yards, up that hill, the same way you ran the first mile. One step in front of the other.
“To travel hopefully is better than arriving.” derived from Robert Louis Stevenson via Jeanette Maw at Good Vibe University