The New Starting Line

By: Jeff Mortimore, RSI Community Connector


“It’s not how you start that’s important, but how you finish.” 

That quote is attributed to Jim George, a Christian minister and inspirational speaker, and it’s a quote you might have heard before. For the most part, I agree with this statement and I have used it a lot in my athletic background. But, there’s also the well-used Nike quote, “there is NO finish line!” I’ve been thinking a lot about the analogies of toeing the starting line these days and finding our way to a new starting line in the midst of this pandemic.

Looking back, I remember the many days of training that built up to race day. The routine, the pain, the sacrifice, and all of the hard work leading up to one moment. When the big day arrived, I could barely contain myself, flushed with the emotions of anxiety and anticipation. All of that preparation, the days of practice, now culminating at this moment. The exhilaration giving way to the knowledge that it was time to be present and perform. It takes a lot of courage to show up at the start line, preparing and dedicating yourself for this particular moment. Trusting that you’ve done the work, but also feeling the fear of the unknown journey ahead. Whether it’s sports, family, work, or favorite pastimes, we’ve all felt that mix of emotions when it’s time to show up at the starting line.

I’m guessing that many of us are anxious to get to the starting line these days. Much of our discipline and preparation has been canceled, changed, or if you’re fortunate enough, postponed. One thing is for sure, we will all have to find our way back to the starting line at some point. So, with the next race on the horizon, there are some things to bear in mind as we inch our way back to that starting line. Here are some thoughts to consider while we wait for the starting gun:

Know that the race will not be the same as before: Maybe it will look like a marathon, or maybe a series of sprints, unexpected hills, and dizzying descents, roots, rocks, and washouts. The race has changed, and we will have to adapt. Reaching the finish line will require emotional agility, adjusting expectations, and a different training regimen. Our jobs, relationships, community, and practice will probably not look the same when the starting line appears, and the best time to prepare yourself is before the race begins.

Technique and tactics are essential: Most successful competitors have spent significant time learning about the necessary tools and techniques that will make the race ahead more enjoyable. It’s not just about showing up, but HOW you show up. How will you handle the new landscape ahead? The best way to prepare is to embrace the change, and develop new tactics for success such as mindfulness, empathic listening, and self-awareness. 

Finding joy and gratitude: Yes, the race might have changed, but this is now a chance to adapt your skills, open your heart to new opportunities, and prepare yourself to show up in a state of readiness. When you arrive at the starting line, you will not doubt yourself, but rather show up in a state of emotional preparedness.  

For those of us who have taken the time to adjust our strategy and technique, it will be the start of a new and amazing journey.


Learn more about Jeff’s work at RSI on our Community Connections page.