The Quarter Mile
You might remember that last spring I took up running, and since then, I’ve run a handful of 5k races.
These days, my favorite type of run to go on is the one that’s just two miles—for me, it’s just enough to clear my mind… and get me back in time to tackle crisis emails and calls.
I’m not sure if I’ll ever be a marathon-level runner, because I love these short runs. But I’d be lying if I didn’t say that the past two weeks of work haven’t FELT like a marathon! And I know I’m not alone.
I was thinking about this when I went out the other morning. It felt like it took all my energy just to jog through the first quarter mile. I literally felt like I was dragging my feet!
During that first stretch, I thought of every excuse to stop and get in the car and go home. It was windy; my knees hurt; I was tired from not sleeping for what has felt like weeks; my pace was slow.
You get the picture.
I had made ALL that effort to get out there in the first place and here I was, thinking of excuses to stop. So I found myself in pep-talk mode. I told myself, OK, this feels hard right now. So stop thinking about how hard it is and just do it. Put one foot in front of the other. Move forward. Keep going. Keep going. Keep going.
Finishing the two miles, I had a sense of relief—not just in the stopping (though that felt good!) but in the perseverance to get through the hard part into the satisfaction of going the distance. Past that first quarter-mile when I wanted to give up.
I believe it’s natural for all of us business owners to feel like we’ve put in a TON of effort over the past two weeks. We have, at times, felt like the weight of the world rested on our shoulders. The marathon of our current health crisis has thrown us all into that feeling that we’ll never get out of this; that it’s simply too hard. You might have been feeling that lag, just like I did in my run.
But it’s just because you’re in the first quarter-mile too.
You have to keep going because the big picture of your business depends on YOU getting to the finish line of this crisis. Getting through this early hard part of uncertainty might be THE hardest part. Sure, the rest may not be easy, but you’ll have proven to yourself you can withstand the doubts and the metaphorical sore knees.
You’ll see for yourself that you CAN do this.
I do know it will be important to plug in some time to rest. You cannot run a marathon without regard to your own physical and mental health. You need time with your spouse, your kids, your parents, your friends—virtually speaking, in some cases, but still vital.
So find the quiet moments to watch a show, play a game, or catch up on some reading. Find ways to take care of yourself with decent food and exercise. Seek the places where you can put your hands on love and gratitude.
For me, I lean into my faith. I lean into something bigger than myself; something more profound. And through that quietude and my relationship with God, I find the energy I need to push through each new quarter-mile into the remainder of the run. The marathon of this crisis may be long, but it won’t last forever.
Be encouraged that you can get through the hard stuff. Get past that first quarter-mile and keep going, keep going, keep going. You can do it. I believe in you!