Two small words sound so simple and yet they offer us such a great challenge.
Like many of us, too many times I have sat in front of a blank screen, shuffled new running shoes from closet to closet, or side-eyed a pile of laundry that’s about the see the “refresh” cycle for the third time. Each of these tasks loomed across the starting line, where once I’ve begun, I am faced with the decision to complete the goal or quit the attempt.
While we often envision crossing the finish line, the starting line can be so daunting when our motivation has dried up or our energy level runs low, and yet, it’s the line we need to cross if we ever hope to finish. As for many people, starting hasn’t been easy recently, and I find myself wondering what may happen between “start” and “finish,” and reflecting more still of what will happen if, when I cross the finish line, I came up short.
For many of us, that fear can keep us from ever moving past the starting line, no matter what it is, be it responding to an email at work, writing the next great novel, or beginning a workout session.
The steps between start and finish remain a mystery, and in that mystery, we find uncertainty.
When faced with uncertainty, it can be natural to avoid or delay since if we never start, we never have to face the truth of the outcome. If you never submit that job application, you don’t have to face the potential rejection. If you avoid that assignment long enough, you can stave off the feedback which may be what you don’t want to hear. In starting, things become real, and real can be scary.
We need real.
In the real we find the actual ability to do something. In the real we can grow, we can fail, and we can rise up again. In the real we can face our fears and doubts head on, without the what-ifs or could be, and when being in the real we can do real work. Starting can frighten us, because it means the finish line comes closer, and with crossing the starting line, life becomes real. Will I cross the finish line with success? Will I stumble? Will I quit the race? The answers to this can only be answered in starting.
Written by: James Ahearn, JD, LPC