Don’t look at the top of the hill

Photo courtesy of Henrik Johansson (Creative Commons)

Photo courtesy of Henrik Johansson (Creative Commons)

As I come to the hill and see it stretching up ahead, I almost want to quit right there. It looks so steep that I don’t even believe I can do it, even though I have run up this hill many times. There at the bottom, it seems too much to manage.

What I have learned is not to look up at the top. I keep my gaze focused just on the next few feet ahead of me – eyes down, breath even, legs moving steadily. Before I know it, I have run up that hill and I’m at the top, doing a little Rocky dance in my head. The times I forget and glance up are the times I that I doubt my strength, gasp for breath and walk up that hill instead of running up it.

Sometimes I think reaching for your goals and dreams can be the same way. It is so overwhelming to look up at that end goal – it seems so high and unreachable that we stop believing we can achieve it. We doubt our strength, skill and knowledge. We forget both our past accomplishments and our new plan.

We freak ourselves out. That’s when we give up on the dream.

There are times when we need to look out at the ultimate goal. During planning time, we have to tilt our heads back to gaze at that dream – that huge, big, beautiful dream.

Then we formulate a plan. Along the way, it’s important to glance up to know we are headed in the right direction. We need to make sure we’re not getting off track.

But in the day-to-day – in the grind – we need to practice the even pace and breath that got us so far already, and stay focused a few feet ahead. We need to work our plan and do those things that will take us steadily up that hill. We should push ourselves certainly, even to the point of discomfort, but not get overwhelmed. We can do this. We have done this before.

I sometimes look at the things others have accomplished and wonder at what strength they must possess. Athletes at the peak of their sport, award-winning authors or actors, heads of companies. They have run up hills higher than I can even imagine.

And yet, I bet if you asked them, they would tell you they stayed focused on the ground just ahead of them. They were not magically transported to the top. They methodically made their way there just like you and I can – and should.

Just one step at a time.