Have you struggled to start something? Something you want to or have to do but for some reason you can’t get started? Well, in running, that challenge of just starting the run can be there more often than runners may want to admit, whether that run is a part of a structured training for an upcoming race or just another day of running. Doubts based on a variety of factors — tiredness of your legs, feelings of low motivation or low energy, concerns of not having enough time before the next commitment, or worries of it being too cold, too hot, too windy, too rainy, or too humid out there — may just derail that run even before it starts. If running is not your thing but cycling, swimming, or for that matter even any other sports is your thing you likely have experienced similar challenges. Yet, how many times did you overcome those doubts and not only got the run going, and by the end, thoroughly enjoyed it?
Truth be told, there are so many runs in my log entry that almost didn’t happen. Looking back and examining what triggers ultimately got me going and finishing those runs, one theme seems obvious and consistent. Taking one first step — figuratively and many times just literally. There have been days even as I was contemplating skipping that run, I just opened the drawer and grabbed the first running shirt I could get hold off and put it on. And that one action led to a series of other small actions that progressed on to the first stride culminating into a full-fledged run. Some other day it was a text to a runner friend and asking if the friend wanted to meet up for the run and upon the affirmative answer there was no escaping for me.
In my 20 years of running, I have had this scenario come up more times than I could count. But looking back, it is fair to say that in most cases when I felt like canceling the run, one small action kick-started the subsequent steps and strides that ended up being rewarding. And therein lies an important lesson.
When struggling to start something, find one step and take it. Sounds simple, right? But is it not effective?
In business or in our personal lives, from time to time, we all encounter a situation or a phase where we feel we are stuck.
We contemplate options to get unstuck and none may seem promising.
And we feel like a paralysis of decision making is setting in through more analysis. In such times, just take one action — any action — related to the situation and see how that leads to the next action and the next one, ultimately giving you the start you need. Is it a difficult task of a strategic shift of resources from project A to project B that you are struggling to get going? Then maybe just ask yourself or your team a simple question — “How do you think we are doing with a project A or what do you think is working in our strategy B?” and see the dialogue or questions that unfold, which in turn, can help you crystalize your next steps. Or in life you may find yourself neglecting your friends due to work or other time demands. Maybe just drop a note — a short text or even a conventional email with just the subject line of “hope you are doing well – just wanted to say hello”. It very likely will start a series of short messages getting you two to reconnect, get caught up, and appreciate each other’s journey in life. And there you are – that’s the start of reconnecting with a friend, and you can build from there.
Running has taught me to take that one step and move forward. I hope you always find that one step to do the same for you too.
Happy running and happy living!