|It's great to be a winner, but do you need a finish line for that?|
This is a common problem for many people in many disciplines, whether it's running, working, or even writing. Every so often, I'll find myself wondering, "Where's the finish line?" And that's the wrong way to look at any long-term or life pursuit.
Sure, there's something good and satisfying about finishing a project (and a race), but I've found that I run faster and write better when I'm not focused on the finish line. I perform better at work when I stay in the moment and don't focus on the end goal. Heck, doing that with the Market Books has overwhelmed better editors than me in the past.
When should you focus on the finish line?
For me, it makes the most sense not to focus on the finish line unless you are working on a small project (think 100 meter dash small) or can see the finish line from where you are on a big project (and you're doing that final sprint to the finish). Otherwise, try to stay in the moment of things.
That said, always know where the finish line is--if there is one--because the only way to make meaningful progress toward the finish line is if you know where you're headed.
What if there is no finish line?
There are many pursuits in our lives that really have no finish line, but we treat them as if they do. Our relationships and life's work should not have a finish line attached to them. These are the important things that make life worth living, and they aren't races so much as long runs. As a result, we're better off treating them different than the projects that do have finish lines.
If you're building a career as a writer, you don't have a finish line. If you're in a relationship, you don't have a finish line (or at least you should hope there's not one). If you're alive, you don't want a finish line. All of these pursuits aren't races, they're processes. So what do you do?
You relax and enjoy the process. You show up and do your best. You run.
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Plus, check out previous Not Bob posts: