By Glenne Fucci, Regular ContributorJuly 23, 2015
Have you ever watched runners cross a finish line? They break through the tape, throw their hands above their head, and flash a huge smile. You don’t need to watch the Olympics to see this happen- check out a local 5K and you’ll see plenty of these folks. The sense of accomplishment, pride, and happiness that overcomes them in the span of just a few seconds is pretty inspiring.
The finish line is just a symbol for the threshold you cross whenever you achieve a goal though; it’s not the finish line that gives those runners that post-race glow, but rather the sense of empowerment that comes from accomplishing their goal.
image via dailyburn.com
Although empowerment can come from many different places, mine came from an actual finish line. A few years back I decided to compete in a triathlon. This wasn’t some noble, self-fulfilling dream but rather a clever way to motivate myself to get healthy after a food-and-drink filled six months overseas. On race day, I stood at the start line and tried to mentally prepare for the torture I was about to inflict upon myself. I had one goal in that moment- “Don’t die.” Seriously, that was my goal; don’t drown during the swim, don’t crash into a tree during the bike, don’t go into cardiac arrest on the run. Anything else, including finishing, was all just extra.
Lo and behold, a combined 15 miles later, I rounded the last turn and that big, beautiful finish line came into sight. Not only had I not died, but I was going to finish the race!
I wish I could pinpoint exactly what I felt in that moment, but all I know is that finish line changed me.
I knew I was hooked on triathlons, not because I so enjoyed the previous 90 minutes, but rather because I loved the feeling that overcame me as I finished the race. The next day I woke up and decided to join my university’s triathlon team, because I never wanted that feeling to end.
Almost three years after my first tri, I still love setting goals for myself via racing. However, I also have come to realize that empowerment stems from achieving goals and finish lines are just one symbol of those achievements. Whether it’s applying for an internship, heading out for my first jog post-knee surgery, or trying a weird new food in a weird new place, I now try to treat all of my little goals as “crossing the finish line” types of accomplishments. Finish lines can be transferred to pretty much any goal, big or small, athletic or otherwise, you set for yourself.
Setting goals for ourselves can be scary, intimidating, and, at times, overwhelming. Yes, we will fail (it took me 20 years to figure out multisport races were my empowerment tool), but we’ll never know how good it feels to be empowered if we don’t try. There will be big finish line moments: graduating from high school, going off to college, winning an academic award. But there will also be daily finish line moments: putting yourself out there to make a new friend, completing a project you’ve been stalling on, getting an A on that assignment you put in overtime for. All of these goals though, big and small, are something to be proud of, something to take with you as you face the next challenge life throws your way.
So, next time you set a goal for yourself, just envision cheering spectators waiting for you as you approach that finish line. Once you cross it, throw your hands above your head, smile, and be proud of yourself. You did it, you made it, you crossed your own personal finish line, now go out and share your empowerment with the world.
Have you ever crossed the finish line at a race? How did you feel? When do you feel most accomplished?
I am a third year law student hailing from NYC, University of Michigan ‘13 grad and Beyonce enthusiast. Currently residing in Korea, my interests include duathlons/triathlons, traveling near and far, documentary films, consuming sugary cereal, watching mid-2000s teen dramas andsinging my heart out at Betty Who concerts. You can watch me attempt to navigate Asia and beyond on Instagram @glennefucci.
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