The zenith of my running days were in high school when I ran cross country in the fall and track in the spring.  I tried hard, but never was the fastest.  More often, I finished toward the back of the pack.  

Still, I prided myself on always finishing every race.

When I think back on my high school running days, the thought that most often comes into my mind is—

I did it!

Winning a race was a goal of mine.

A goal that I never achieved.

Would it have been nice to win? You bet!  Was winning a race necessary to move my life forward?  No.

I learned and became much stronger by finishing.

As I think back on goals I’ve set in the past, I’m a bit embarrassed to realize how often I opted to quit them when I started to perceive that I wasn’t achieving them.

With this in mind I’m going to make an effort to switch my focus, I want to run the the whole race and finish well, even if I don’t accomplish the goal attached to it.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that I will stop setting goals or plotting a plan to achieve them.

BUT if I don’t “win”, if I don’t achieve them in the manner in which my mind has constructed for me, my intention is to keep running the race, instead of becoming frustrated and taking a seat on the sidelines counting all the reasons why I think I failed.

A runner who keeps on running can run thousands of miles in a year whether he or she wins or not.  But the runner who stops after losing the first race, will have only run a few miles.

When I was a kid, I saw a poster that said, “The race is not always to the swift, but to those who keep running”.

May we all keep running!

JASON FREEMAN is a Professional Speaker and the proud owner of a Speech Impediment.  He is also the author of “Awkwardly Awesome: Embracing My Imperfect Best” and a Perseverance Coach.

He excites and encourages his audience to break through the barriers of their own limitations using a method he created, called “doing your Imperfect Best ™”.

His Imperfect TEDx Talk can be viewed here.