Life Takes Time
When I ran for the first time with my dad in 1981, I had no idea that decision would impact and shape my life. I just wanted to gain my dad’s approval and be more like him. Dad was a runner, so I ran too.
I didn’t achieve success early when I ran, in fact I quit for a couple of years, because I wasn’t sure I liked running. I thought running was about my race times, medals, and finishing in first place, when in fact, I was learning so much more. I was learning life lessons that I’m now passing onto my kids.
I’ve learned so much from the sport of running, and the greatest lesson is that life takes time. It took seven years of training before I won my first major race, Indiana Boys’ Cross-Country Semi-State my sophomore year.
I wasn’t a productive and effective runner in college until my senior year at West Point, after three long years of injury and frustration. I’ve tried unsuccessfully to qualify for the Boston Marathon the past three years, but I know if I keep trying, eventually I will qualify, because if I’ve learned anything from running, it’s that LIFE TAKES TIME.
There’s no such thing as an overnight success. Success is cooked in the crock-pot of life, in the shadows of the mundane and seemingly insignificant tasks, practices, and hot long runs when no one is around to encourage and cheer you on. Life is one long journey of living outside your comfort zone so that someday you might taste the sweetness of success.
We live in an extraordinary time in human history, where technology allows us to gain instant access to information, answers, food, and satisfaction. In spite of all that, life still takes time. Anything of significance doesn’t come easy and patience must rule the day.
Frustration will become a part of your daily journey as you strive to achieve the meaningful things in your life that you so desperately desire. Take heart and know that there is hope and you will find success if you understand and fully embrace that life takes time.
Here are five principles to consider as you strive to add success in the timeline of your life:
- Don’t compare. Don’t compare your worst day to someone’s best day. It’s easy to scroll through Facebook and admire the lives of your friends. Their vacations seem really cool, their kids are never disrespectful, and their lives seem perfect. The truth is they struggle just as much as you, so don’t get caught up in comparing your unique journey to someone else’s journey.
- Be flexible. I hung onto a business I was developing for nine long years, because I wasn’t flexible enough to realize that it wasn’t working and that I could achieve greater success with another business model. Be flexible and willing to tweak areas of your life, when necessary.
- Maintain perspective. Failure will be a part of your journey, so don’t get too upset when you fail or overly excited when you experience success. Take deep breaths and remind yourself that you’re on a journey and don’t get caught up in the short term emotion of the day’s events.
- Keep moving. I learned the hard way to never stop running during long runs. While running, you’re not fully aware of how taxing it is on your body until you stop. Once you stop, the lactic acid invades your muscles and you begin to feel the pain in your legs. Once you start running again, your legs protest and feel like they’re full of lead. It’s just easier to keep running and not lose momentum. Life is the same. It will get tough, and you may want to quit…. Don’t. There’s a difference between remaining flexible and altering your path and stopping completely. Never stop and keep moving.
- Enjoy the journey. Sometimes I look around during a long run and realize how beautiful the scenery is and can’t help to smile and become grateful in that moment. I get so caught up in the run and how I feel that I forget to enjoy the beauty of the world around me. You only get one shot at life and it can be hard, but it’s also very beautiful. Take time to enjoy where you are in a particular moment and how far you’ve come.
Life takes time and success may elude you at the moment, but stay the course and continue to work towards your goals. What can you do today to take the next step toward your goals?