Finish Line Syndrome
“The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start and keep going.” -Unknown
As we go through life, there are so many “races” that we run both personally and professionally. And most of the time those races test our mental fortitude and sanity, they push us to be a little uncomfortable, and sometimes they completely exhaust us. But I would guess at the end of most of life’s “races” we would do it all over again even knowing how hard it would be. Why is that?
I believe it’s because when we are in the middle of something hard, fun, challenging, and exhilarating, we are struggling, but at the finish line, we realize that it’s all worth it. The problem that many of us have is that we focus on the finish line. In this world that we have created of immediate gratification, and instant access to what we need, we have also developed a sometimes-unrealistic view of the finish line in many of our “races”. This is what I call Finish Line Syndrome.
Whether you are building experience to get to the next level in your career or you are starting a business and pounding the pavement to find your first clients, we are always striving for something bigger or better than we have today.
By focusing on the finish line and defining ourselves by how fast or how well we execute towards that finish line, we often miss many of the opportunities, learnings, and joy associated with the race itself. Learning and growing do not happen at the Finish Line or in the success, it happens during the race and in the failures. We want to have goals and always be striving for something, but my advice to you is that you place that goal on the wall, or in your mind and then turn all your energy to the journey to get there, never forgetting where you’re going. I promise that if you slow down every now and then in your journey you will see things that you never would have noticed had you been staring at the finish line. The journey could provide even greater fulfillment than the finish line itself.
Finish Line Syndrome is real and can have a negative effect on our mindset, beliefs, and relationships if not managed. I recommend doing a self-diagnosis to see if you are currently suffering from this and if so, take a step to be more present over the next week and see how much progress you can actually make toward your goals by looking at the things around you and not just the finish line.