Start Your First Mile
If you’re anything like me, you hear the words “26.2 miles” and immediately start to back up. I don’t like to run two miles, much less 26 of them. And for a lot of us, we see this huge distance of 26 miles and get overwhelmed. We don’t believe we can go that far right now so for some reason, we get stuck with the notion that we’ll never go that far.
But did you know how a marathon is actually run?
One. Small. Step. At. A. Time.
Ask any marathoner. For them to reach mile 26, they have to start with mile 1.
And to reach mile 1? You have to start with step one.
It’s the same with having BIG goals.
Do you know the kind of goals I’m talking about?
The BIG ones. These aren’t the type of goals on our “to-do” list that we’ll mark off in the a week or two. No, these are big goals — the ones we set for our life. The goals that may take 5, 10 years to reach, but that set our hearts on fire every time we think about them.
Those goals are the ones that we don’t tell too many people — if anyone — about. And if we’re honest, sometimes (or many times) we fear that goal is too big for us, or maybe that it’s too late for us to achieve.
- Like that planned trip we don’t want anyone else to know we really really want to take?
- Or that perhaps business, we’ve thought about starting for years, yet keep it away in our “safe space” where it can’t come out and be real?
Have you ever thought about your big goal and gotten overwhelmed at the sheer size of what it will take to accomplish it? We look at our big goals like we do a marathon — trying to bite off 26 miles in one big chunk, instead of one small step at a time. We make the mistake of assuming that we need to know everything right this second in order to achieve it or we’ll never reach it. Just like we assume if we can’t run 26.2 miles right now, we can never run a marathon.
For that reason, we start to call our BIG goals “dreams” because that word allows us to keep them in a “tomorrow.”
“Dreams are for dreamers. Goals are for achievers.” — Arnold Schwarzenegger
But dreams? Dreams are safe in the far distance, hidden from everyone else’s view, where only we can see them. They are things we see at night in our sleep, or during the day when we doze off.
But if you want to be successful, you’ve got to be different. Competitors create BIG goals from their dreams. Instead of saying “some day,” competitors look at their calendar and 1, 5, or 10 years from now, they point to a date and say this day. Then they begin to create their plan.
Competitors know they don’t have everything figured out — but goals don’t require you to have everything figured out in order to start pursuing them. I had zero clue of how to start a t-shirt company when I launched Compete Every Day. Seriously, just learning how printers screen print shirts was a process. But I believed in my goal and took the first step, knowing full well I’d learn it as I took steps two and three.
Steps four and five presented new challenges, but I learned and adapted when I took them. Because that’s what Competitors do.
The scariest part of any race isn’t the training. It isn’t mile 16, or even the last few steps from the finish line. The scariest part at any race — that moment when the butterflies are racing in our stomachs and our nerves are at their peak — is the starting line.
- Crap! Do I need to pee again?
- What did I get myself into?
- Please God don’t let me poop my pants on the course
It’s the beginning, right before the whistle sounds, that our fears are at their peak. But nerves — and all of that anxious energy — disappear the moment that first step is taken and the race starts. And each additional step gets easier and easier.
So Competitors take that first step and start running toward that first mile in order to reach their end goal at mile 26. Don’t let the distance between the starting and finishing lines deter you from taking that first step. Just start running. It’s the best only way to ever reach that big goal.