No Finish Line: Finishing is Not Always the Point

Being the first to finish doesn’t always make us winners.

No Finish Line

Racing to the Finish

Last Saturday night. 

On the smart TV over the fire place, Spotify is playing a new-to-me song.  I like it a lot.  The slider moves slowly across the screen, showing that soon the song will end, but I don’t want it to.

On the end table to my left is a glass of merlot.  I enjoy every sip, but I don’t want to finish the bottle. 

Earlier in the kitchen, my wife and I made homemade pizzas together.  We mixed sauces, chopped toppings, and experimented with different combinations.  I didn’t want that moment of mutual creation to end, either.

As leaders and achievers, getting stuff done is second nature to us.  Whatever the task, we recognize a starting point and an ending point, and we do our best to move as quickly as possible through the part in the middle. 

We might think that the faster we can do that, the more successful we are.  But the checkered flag is not always at the end of life’s races.  Sometimes we may discover that it’s in the middle somewhere, or that there is no finish line at all.  

In some of life's most important races, there is no checkered flag. Click To Tweet

Success can’t always be measured in elapsed time, relative place, or number of trophies collected.  Life itself has a clear beginning and end, but we aren’t in a rush to get to that finish.  Maybe we should use that as the model for how we approach other things.

Certainly there are finish lines we want to cross, but leading and living successfully means helping each other be better off as a result of working together to reach them. 

No Finish Line – The Takeaway

Enjoy the music while it is still playing, savor the wine while there is still some in the bottle.  Most importantly, make those moments of connection with mates or teammates positive and memorable. 

Most of our time is not spent at starting lines or finish lines, but somewhere in the middle; leaders help make being there feel like winning. Click To Tweet

The pizza has to go into the oven soon enough.  The real measure of success may be in seeing how well we can savor the experience of creating it before that time comes.

I bet it makes the pizza taste better, too.

Lead On!

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About the Author: Ken Downer
Ken Downer - Founder RapidStart Leadership

Ken served for 26 years in the Infantry, retiring as a Colonel.  From leading patrols in the Korean DMZ, to parachuting into the jungles of Panama, to commanding a remote outpost on the Iran-Iraq border, he has learned a lot about leadership, and has a passion for sharing that knowledge with others.  Look for his weekly posts, check out his online courses, subscribe below, or simply connect, he loves to talk about this stuff.

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