False starts are common in the world of sports. You know, when a competitor is so anxious to get to the finish line that they jump the gun and set out before they get the signal that they’re good to go. When they do, the race has to be re-started all over again. More than once, they’re often out of the race altogether.
False starts are even more common in everyday life – for much the same reason.
- They happen in small ways, like forgetting our phones, keys and documents as we rush out the door.
- They happen all the time with fitness goals (especially this time of year).
- They happen with jobs and careers – sometimes it takes several to land in your ‘happy place’.
- They happen with companies trying to launch or expand too soon often resulting in spectacular brand and financial disasters. And they happen with brands, and people, losing sight of who they really are.
False starts have the same motivators…
No matter how large, small, or frequent our false starts; they come from the same starting points.
We become so focused on the finish line that we often don’t think things through or research enough, are blinded or boggled by the hype of what everyone else is doing and fear of being left behind or found wanting. We ignore or underestimate risks. We overestimate our skills, resources and abilities. We focus on the future and take our eye off the present.
…and the same effects.
Stress and frustration increases, Productivity decreases, finances often stall or take a beating, and motivation suffers. We’re back at square one with our day, our career, our growth plans, and our dreams. Or are we?
False starts v. failure.
Failure is one of those words that should be eradicated from the dictionary. It’s negative. It’s defeating. It’s final… the whole concept is just wrong.
False starts, on the other hand, should be opportunities – steps on the learning curve of life and business. We can choose to see them as self-defeating, or as growing pains that help us learn more about ourselves, what we want and don’t want, and what works for us – or not. Trial and error is the stuff progress is made of – it keeps us true to our brands, and to ourselves.
Find the finish line.
Even when you learn from them, too many false starts can be defeating. Whether you’re trying to lose a few inches, keep up with your kids, colleagues or competition, running your first marathon, or launching a new product, service or business, my advice is this:
- Learn from your experiences
- Look for the positive
- Do your research – find the people that know their stuff, care about what you care
about, and care about you
- Filter the hype
- Take the time to do it right and sustain what you achieve
- Realize that faster isn’t always better
And trust that, with help, you’ll cross the finish line, ready to tackle the next challenge.
Want help turning false starts into forging ahead? We invite your feedback.