We all like a good race. Whether it is the 100 meter dash, the NYC Marathon, the Kentucky Derby, or a NASCAR race. It is exciting to see the race and how participants crossed the finish line. There is a clear start and a clear finish.
As we continue on our journey to build and strengthen our character, it is important that we acknowledge the truth that there is no finish line concerning the important things in life like family, work, finances, and areas of service. Even in death, our legacy carries on to impact those left behind. We have to be careful to avoid the illusion of a finish line to our efforts.
There is the risk that we allow ourselves to establish some phantom finish lines that will determine our mindset and our effort. We have probably all found ourselves at one time or another saying something like:
- When I reach a certain income level, then I can get ahead of the bills and things will be ok
- When the kids get out of diapers, then we will have some time and energy and things we be ok
- When I get through this busy season, then I will have some time to re-connect with my spouse and our relationship will be ok
- When I lose these 10 pounds, then I will feel better and things will be ok
- When I reach a career milestone, then there won’t be as much stress and things will be ok
- When I get this degree completed, then I can get my life in order and things will be ok
It is healthy to establish goals/milestones along the way to assess our progress, but there is a clear difference between a milestone achievement and a finish line ending the race.
The reality is our journey through life is a lot like the business model of the software industry. We launch with the 1.0 version. We get out there in life, learn some things, see some new opportunities, and realize we didn’t plan for everything, so we make a few improvements and then launch the 2.0 version…then 3.0 and we know how the story continues.
The illusion is that the next version will be the lasting version and all we will need. Life continues to present us with new opportunities to learn and grow. On the journey to reach our full potential, there is no final version. We will continue to build skills and grow in wisdom and perspective.
If we don’t learn and grow, we miss our opportunity to maximize our impact on those things we care about most.
As we make the choice to live fully in the moment with the humility to know we are never done learning and growing, we will continue to build and strengthen our character and Character Creates Opportunity® for us to have a positive impact on those closest to us and in service to causes bigger than ourselves.