Chasing Your Goals
Chasing Your Goals
Did you see the footage of Matthew Boling running the final leg of the 4×400 relay in the state track championship for Texas?
I’m a runner, so saw the story come across my newsfeed. If you haven’t seen it yet, and you have four minutes, it’s worth watching.
When Boling was handed the baton, his team was a full three seconds behind the first place team with nearly 25 meters separating him from the front runner. Boling only had 400 meters to make up that three seconds, a literally unprecedented feat. Overcoming that kind of lead has never been done.
To do it, Boling had to run his leg in 44.74, which it turns out is only five one-hundredths (.05) slower than the national individual record.
As I have read some of the coverage on Boling’s run, two things stood out that I think can be helpful thoughts for all of us doing running our own kinds of races in our work.
1. Just Run – One commentator noted that usually when you see remarkable comebacks in running they are usually limited to distance running. James Dator wrote, “The idea, of course, is you need actual time to mount a comeback—not the final 400 meters in a relay. There is no evidence of anyone coming back from 3 seconds down in a 4×400 relay to win—until now.”
Dator’s words made me wonder about the limitations we put on the timing for reaching our goals. In that moment when he took the baton, I don’t think Boling was considering the impossibility of making up that much track in so little time. The only thing he was paying attention to was the back of the runner ahead of him. He only had one thought: Catch him. He didn’t have to measure the distance and calculate his pace or consider the best strategy. All he had to do was run as fast as he could to catch one guy.
I think too often we spend too much time measuring the distances between us and our goal when we really just need to stop calculating and evaluating and thinking and strategizing and instead, just run. Move faster. Just put your eye on one goal and stop thinking about “how long it should take” or the “reasonable amount of time needed to reach our goal” and just give it all out effort for four hundred yards.
In other words, the runway doesn’t have to be as long as you think it does. Stop thinking about it “what should be possible” and just run.
2. Good Enough Gets It Done – While there seems to be general consensus that what Matthew Boling did in the 4×400 relay and in his own individual record-setting win in the 100 meter, there are some that point out that Boling has his flaws. In one article, the writer noted:
“Keep in mind too that his form is far from perfect. His starts aren’t the most efficient, and his finish is a little wobbly.”
People are just so helpful, right? I’m sure Matthew Boling is grateful for these insights on where his running really needs some attention and improvement.
Here’s the thing: Boling’s form may be far from perfect, but apparently it doesn’t need to be perfect to get the job done. Too many of us are waiting to have perfect form and immaculate starts and incredible finishes before we even try.
We wait because we don’t want to be judged. What Matthew Boling’s story tells us is that is doesn’t matter what your outcomes are, the world might judge you anyway. Even when you do unprecedented and record-setting things, people think there are ways to do it better. And they might be right about that. But either way, it doesn’t matter. The fact that other people get to have thoughts or judgement or criticism about the way you are doing it, doesn’t mean that you don’t get in the race.
Always remember that you don’t have to do your work perfectly to get the job done. You get it done by doing the work even when your form could be better. You get it done by putting one flawed step in front of another and moving around the track towards your goal.
Run the best you know how. Run the fastest you know how. It will get you to the finish line. Good enough always gets it done.
I love watching anyone achieve great things in any field because it shows me what is possible in my own life. In this case, I loved the reminders Matthew Boling offers each of us to stop thinking about what is possible and just run and that no matter what anybody else says, you don’t have to be perfect or flawless or even qualified at any of it to achieve your goals.
What about you? What is inspiring you this week to run after your dreams?