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  • Writer's pictureMartin Benefer

It's NOT a marathon OR a sprint

The road map has been declared. Timings have been shared. And yet the future remains very uncertain.

After more than a year of living with fear, anxiety and uncertainty in a world of social isolation, redundancies and even death, there's finally hope for a future beyond survival in a global pandemic. Finally there's a solution with vaccines rolling out and finally there's a plan to move beyond day to day existence.

We can look forward to fewer restrictions, proper socialising and a focus on the future, or to put it another way, reintroduction of some basic human needs - FREEDOM, CONNECTION & PURPOSE - three critical building blocks for us to thrive, not just survive.

Sounds great! So why wait?

Soon it will all be over...won't it?

Not so fast!...

Pace Yourself!

We're all aware of the marathon versus sprint analogy. We know going too fast leads to burn out, a need to slow down (or stop), and to poorer performance long term. And we often remind ourselves "it's an endurance event" and "not to get carried away too soon".

But even marathons have space for sprint finishes don't they? And aren't we nearly there?

Maybe....But, ask yourself these questions:

  • What happens if the finish line moves?

  • And what happens after you finally cross it?

Unlike a race of any distance, there's no finish line in life, just another start line. There's no medal, no sense of elation and no collective endpoint in which to rest, recuperate, celebrate and plan the next event. The next event (or events) will arrive when it (or they) choose to, not when you choose them. Whether you're ready or not... Life goes on!

Depending on your perspective, this could sound uplifting and exciting or completely demoralising!

If it's the latter you may need to adjust your current pace, and your current perspective.

Be Present

"Nearly there" is a line that has rather limited effect and a very limited lifespan!

Whether it's a response to kids in a car, a note to yourself in a marathon or a means of self-talk in life, it quickly wears thin. It puts all your focus on where you are not and quickly accentuates the fact that you're not where you want to be.

Instead, for the sake of sanity, personal sustainability and to help, not hinder, your progress forwards, focus on where you are now. Concentrate on what you can control - breathe, take your time and keep moving. But ensure you're not sprinting ahead in a desperate attempt to reach the end and get it all over with!

Just like when running a marathon, ask yourself: "can I maintain this pace?"

Unlike when running a marathon, ask yourself: "can I maintain this pace if the finish line moves?"

Prepare to Keep Going

What needs to change for you to feel you can endure this?

What can you do now to prepare yourself to keep going?

Act now - pause, and go back to basics:

  • Slow down

  • Take breaks

  • Seek out your supporters

  • Adjust your goals

  • And keep on moving

Picture yourself jogging over the line, ready for the next chapter.

Please don't sprint. There's plenty more to come.

Good luck!


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