Zig Ziglar once wrote,"You don't have to be great to start. But you do have to start to be great."
Most everyone has at least this one thing in common; we are all at the starting line of something sometime in life. Another common trait is, we all want to win. Let's face it, though. Because we all have different goals, outlooks, experiences, ages, shapes and sizes, we cross the finish line at different times and there is typically only one winner in a race.
But who told you you're in a race? Sometimes we set unrealistic expectations for ourselves and often, when we fail to meet those expectations, we plummet into a doldrums, despair and even depression.
Of course, I'm not necessarily talking about athletics here. We all understand that in an athletic race, there really is just one winner. And, yes, there may be trophies given for placing in second or third. But in the broader sense of life, we all can receive a trophy that may come in the form of satisfaction, peace of mind, happiness and a sense of purpose. And winning one of these trophies requires setting the right pace.
Regarding pace, there are a few things to keep in mind when setting out on a new project, school year, job, and even a new relationship. If you employ these, you just possibly might end up with quite a few of these trophies.
Don't let past failures affect the start of future achievements.
I cannot tell you how many times I started something new. Maybe it was a new project, a job, a position or something else. Initially, I would be real excited about its challenges and perhaps even the rewards and benefits of moving into this new venture. But then, fear would often paralyze me. I'd feel overwhelmed by the prospect of starting something (again) and either not finishing or failing miserably.
The truth is, most of those feelings were simply reflections of my self-worth. I learned that, even though I may have not achieved the results on a previously attempted project, there were still lessons I can learn from it, regardless of the outcome. I just needed to apply those lessons for a better result.
Don't let the pace of someone else necessarily dictate yours.
The gifts and talents you have are not always shared by everyone you work with. You might be able to sprint through a project or class simply by virtue of your talent. But more often than not, it takes a well planned pace in order to move to good success. The pace at which a classmate or co-worker completes a task shouldn't always be your guide. Also, this doesn't give you carte blanch to always be a slow-poke. Moderation is sometimes your best lead.
Be patient with others and yourself.
Patience is part of the Fruit of the Holy Spirit of God. Asking the Holy Spirit to fill you allows you to bear, or demonstrate, His fruit in your life. When we get impatient with ourselves for not finishing as quickly as others on something, we can get depressed or angry or resentful. Obviously, these are antithetical of the Holy Spirit's fruit.
Failure is never the end.
Henry Ford once said, "Failure is only the opportunity to begin again, only this time more wisely." When you step back, gain some perspective that life is typically a pretty long time, you'll see that failing at a particularly project or course or anything else really does allow you to start over again. Don't ever fall into the trap of eternal defeat. Our God is one of new beginnings.