Just start strong

The Olympic Games are in full throttle and creating many magical moments. I’m watching friends on Snapchat having a fantastic time in Rio and I’m reminded of the wonderful buzz that surrounds an Olympic event.

track and field Commonwealth Games (1)

I had the pleasure of working at the Sydney Olympics and attending many of the events and street parties around Sydney. I’ve never experienced such a joyful, peaceful can connected atmosphere before. It didn’t matter what colour shirts you wore, the spirit was about celebrating each other and triumphant moments.

Those moments aren’t all about winning, although we’ve seen some incredible ones:  18-year-old Kyle Chalmers coming from nowhere to win the 100m freestyle, the first for Australia since 1968; Michael Phelps, claiming his 23rd gold and demonstrating how to be the greatest; Joseph Schooling from Singapore beating his hero Phelps to win his first Gold; and Simone Manuel became the first African-American woman to win an Olympic swimming medal.

That’s just the swimming. Van Nierkirk just smashed up the two favourites in the 400m final (amazing race) and Usain Bolt has just won his third gold medal as I write this paragraph (to be honest, I wrote it 30 minutes before he won. What can I say? I see the future clearly).

But, it’s more than just the wins, it’s the starts that are important too.

Every athlete who has stepped up to the starting gun is a winner. (Even myself felt like a winner coming third in my Comm games hurdle event!! I’ve never done it before and was terrified and I didn’t even care where I came, I was ecstatic that I didn’t chicken out and gave it a go. So much strength came from that. Although I did love winning the swimming event! See more of what I’m talking about here. )

Does our self worth come from the result?

Cate Campbell was interviewed after she and her sister – the HOT favourites for a historical gold and silver in the 100-metre freestyle – didn’t place.

The disappointment shone through her entire body, particularly given the intense media pressure the girls experienced as the GIVEN winners.

“I’ve always said I don’t need a gold medal to have self-worth. This is really going to test that belief for me.”

Courage even when your face is in the dirt.

I wish Kalyra was listening. So she can have role models like this – that understand winning is not about gold medals but about starting strong.

A few weeks, ago we went to watch Kalyra in her school athletics carnival. She’s not passionate about athletics and probably doesn’t have her Daddy’s athletic ability. I think Savannah may have that. Kalyra is more a creative in her own space. She hates people watching her and being in the spotlight.

We didn’t pressure her to go in any races, leaving the decision up to her but encouraging her to do her best and to have fun. She decided the 800m wasn’t for her, but volunteered to go in the 100m and 200m. She did her best and had fun.

The start is where you find the self-worth

On the way home all I could think of was her amazing spirit. I wasn’t interested in the finishing line or where she came. That was not the picture in my head.

The image was of her start.

Standing there with her fear of falling over, her shadow of doubt about her worth and ability, the aching insecurity of how she would look and what people might think.

The gnawing of her fingernails as she waited to start showed her fragility and vulnerability.

But, amidst all that she still stepped up and waited for the gun to signal it was time to start. Then she ran with all of that fear and insecurity for 200m. I saw it shrouding her with the slight hunch of her shoulders, but she kept running.

She triumphed over all those emotions that for many of us as adults we use as an excuse not to start. We’ve been conditioned to think purely of the finish.

How we cross the line and what medal we receive and how we compare to others.

So we never start. Our doubts and fears far too great for us to risk vulnerability to have a go and perhaps come last.

Even if you do come last, at least you started.

The starting is where you gather the strength to stretch out the comfort zones and where you learn a little more about yourself, what you’re good at, what you can refine, and how you can be better. It gives you a little more courage and confidence to start again tomorrow.

In not starting, we lose all of this, but most of all we lose the self-esteem deposit the start gives us.

“Well done. You did what you said you did. You gave it a go. The outcome matters far less than that.”

The truth is none of us know how we’ll finish, so why put so much emphasis on that? Even if we have the fastest muscle fibres in our legs, we could pull a hamstring, have an upset tummy, or simply not desire it enough and not finish strong.

We can’t control the outcome, but we can steer the direction of it by moving when the gun is fired in the direction we want to go, by focusing on putting one foot in front of the other and determining as we go whether it’s time to speed up, slow down or move in a new direction.

Without the start we get nothing.

It’s why I start over and over again. I spend almost every day at my keyboard running my business with the thoughts, I have no idea what I’m doing. But I start anyway and then I go within to trust myself to figure it out and giving my confidence a chance to grow.

When my babies were handed to me after their first breath, I wanted to say to the midwife

“excuse me. Why are you giving me this child? I have no idea what I’m doing.”

I still have no idea, but each day I start with intention and love and I figure it out. Sometimes I fall badly, other times I win, but I celebrate the start instead. It’s how you can maintain your self-worth and grow your strength without receiving a medal or achieving the results you expected.

I’ve just spent the past day submitting proposals to our dream clients. I had no idea what I was doing and was bombarded with the thoughts,

“You are such an idiot. Your pitch doesn’t even fit their required forms! There’s no way they’re going to listen. They are going to laugh at you. “

So what if they do? I pushed those thoughts aside and instead focused on the start. I felt excitement about what I was about to learn and achieve. I conquered the demons to show up and have a go.

There’s a high possibility I may get ignored, but I started and if you focus on the right things, you’ll gain so much self-confidence just from your giving it a go and growing a little bit more.

Commonwealth Games Gold Coas swimming (1)

Start strong

The Start. It’s where the power lies.

Stop looking at the finishing line and thinking it lies there with the number on that ribbon that gets pinned to your chest. If you’re a parent, encourage your children to focus on the start. The getting up and moving even when everything tells you not to because you might fail or look foolish.

Start strong.

Run with those debilitating emotions and show them that no matter how much they want to linger around and for how long, you’ve still got a spirit that’s stronger and wiser and more determined to move forward to that which you want.

Pin this:

Just start strong

Do you focus on your start and collect some self-worth deposits along the way?

You may also like

You may also like

17 thoughts on “Just start strong”

  1. Thanks Caz. I have so many starts I am fearing today I really needed that. I am taking over half the paperwork from our business and in 4 min I will be starting – make that 3 min.
    I have also been procrastinating a fitness challenge. I need to decide by 3 September and now I think I will register today. No matter the outcome I will start.
    Plus I love hearing about Kalyra. My oldest is not a born athlete either though I think his little sister will be. He has so many strengths in other things.
    Start time! Thankyou.

  2. Thank you so much! There is a lot that I need to start doing. All personal steps & im glad I opened your email & read it today. You are a wonderful writer. Thank you Caz!

  3. Alyson World Travel Family

    Don’t know if you know this Caz, but my husband, Chef, is an Iron Man. He did a couple of events back in Australia and he’s competing in Wales Iron Man next month. I say competing, it’s never about competing, it’s about getting through the things. Sure he does as well as he can, but he never sets out to win, because, it would be impossible, he’s up against world champions and because that’s not what it’s all about. He just likes doing them for his own pleasure. ( likewise, I was a runner and triathlete ’till my mid 40s, a bad one, but it was fun) Over the last 2 weeks my boys did an intensive high diving course, they loved it, sure it was scary, but they saw it and wanted to do it. It was never about “diving for Australia” as some misguided relative commented. It was just about having fun. I was so proud of them. And that’s how I feel about everything really, I’m not in it to win it, just to enjoy the ride, hope the kids pick up that mindset too. Have a go, see what happens, there’s no shame in failure, if you showed up and tried you’re winning already.

  4. I start strong with my initiative in doing things I want to do. I make plans and make lists to feel like I’m sccomplishing something. This summer I made $1500 in savings for a future trip I’m pretty flexible about. I had made a bucket list before summer and I checked off ten out of twelve things on the list by the end of my vacation. To name a few of my goals: I worked two jobs(one at a nursing home and one as a swim teacher), got cpr & lifeguard certification, did scuba padi training at an aquatic center near me and read 15 books unrelated to school. Which involved spending time at my favorite place in the world a lot aka Barnes Noble. What i hope to learn to start strong in is doing things i’m afraid to do and getting out of my comfort zone more.

  5. I always wanted to start running, but I have a very strong pain in the belly when I start … you know it can be something? Or is normal when you start the race?

  6. I love this! I personally think the hardest part is actually starting! That’s where all of the fear lies. It’s that moment when you have to decide to step out of your comfort zone or not. Once you make the leap, the rest just comes. Sure, there may be times you think of quitting, but nothing will be as hard as that first step. Once you actually start, no one can stop you!

  7. Great post. I felt you talked to me, as I was just wasting time surfing the internet. Not starting what I needed to do as I feel insecure of the best way to do it.

  8. Yet again another powerful motivational article! A lot of people will need this article, including my younger sister who is starting to question her self worth :(, I plan on sharing this with her as I know it will lift her spirits even for a little!

    Thanks for sharing, appreciate it 🙂

    P.s. I love this “The Start. It’s where the power lies.”

  9. Nice article, truly inspired.
    everybody running out with some or the other hurdles in their life, the true spirit is how you take it and overcome the phase.
    Keep posting
    Cheers 🙂

  10. Wow, yet another amazing post. You write really good inspirational posts, Caz. I can spend all night reading these 🙂
    That’s a good way to think about failures and successes. Keeping a steady head is tough and we do need to train our minds to be one.

  11. Thank you Caz 🙂
    The starts is physical starts, but also starts in our minds….. Start to think about the start in stead for the results…..

  12. Really wise words; this struck a chord with me as I’m just beginning to try and build up a sustainable freelance income. It’s scary and I really doubt myself sometimes but like you, I know I have to just have the courage to try, to see where things lead.

  13. I used to race road bikes competitively and this article is spot on. Just getting there by qualifying is a huge win, in itself. Those competing should hold their heads up high and realize the road they have led to that point is an incredible feat. I wish their was more sportsmanship in Rio. The fans were sold out for their home team!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top