When do you quit?

When do you quit?

I just completed a presentation with a small company.  It was about Leadership and Teamership but I included a splash of goal setting in the event.  My goal is to help others think about what kind of leader they can be but the audience always is in charge.  They hear what I say but their minds take them where they need to go.

Following the presentation one of the employees of the establishment that hosted the event came up to me and said, “I needed to hear your message.  You were put here just for me.  I didn’t want to come in to work this event but I found myself taking plenty of notes on the other side of the bar.”  He explained he did not follow his dream in the past and it has haunted him for long time. 

Here’s what he heard  … “it’s never too late!” 

My son Troy was running in his first marathon.  It was a warm day in Chicago, going to get up to 80 degrees.  Troy had trained all summer for this special October day.  He was prepared and he was doing very well, not with a chance of winning, but he was going to finish the 26 plus mile adventure.

Late in the race the warm temperatures started getting to him.  He was tired.  His legs were heavy.  He was hot.  He was thirsty.  He took water at every opportunity.   As the race stretched on he slowed down more and more to drink the water.  The more he slowed, the more he thought about stopping, about quitting.   But he kept talking to himself.  “Don’t stop Troy.  It will be too difficult getting started again.”  He pushed forward.

Finally he did stop.  He took a bottle of water from a helper and slowed to a walk, then to a halt.  Negative thoughts raced through his mind.  “Give it up, or just walk to the finish line.  Just finishing will be great.  I ran most of the way.”    His attitude had changed from the first time he decided to run a marathon.  In the summer he had energy and excitement pushing him to train. His thinking was different now that fatigue set in.  Who was it that said “Fatigue makes cowards of us all.”  Troy was thinking, maybe it was Confucius, maybe Lombardi, perhaps it was Dad.  Whoever thought of it was right on!

It was then that Troy was jolted from his thoughts of quitting.  “Hey,” a police officer shouted.  The cop was leaning on a barricade.  “How long have you trained for this race?”  Troy replied, “Started in June.”  The police officer shook his head and said, “You mean you trained for four months and you’re going to walk to the finish line?”

Troy perked up.  Finish line?

The police officer smiled, “It’s just around the corner.  You might want to pick up the pace a little bit.”

Troy sprinted to the finish line.  It was still October but his mind raced back to that day in June when he decided to try something he’s never done before.  He had renewed energy.  The excitement returned.  The passion was back.  He had come too far to quit!  He just needed to adjust his thinking. 

How about you?  When do you quit?  When is it time to just walk the rest of your life and leave the dream out there for someone else?

Or have you come too far to quit?  

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