In preparation for any task, we put ourselves through a process to ensure that we are taking the necessary and appropriate steps to accomplishing what we set out to do.  As we set out to begin the grind, there is a small detail that we can’t afford to overlook.  We must remember to ‘lace up’.  Our laces will prove to be the one factor that will hold it all together, or cause everything to fall apart.

_MG_8176In the running community, there are hundreds of different shoe strings.  They are made in a variety of fluorescent colors, lengths, widths, and even shapes.  Each runner has their own preference, but in the end, the goal is to sustain enough wear and tear and not unravel despite any bumps, cracks or hills the road may present.  If the laces come undone, the consequences can be heart-breaking.  Yet, if they stay fastened and secure, they are likely to withstand adversity and help hold it all together.

When is the last time that you had to prepare yourself for a big project?  An upcoming presentation?  A fitness test?  Did you take the necessary measures to make sure even the smallest of details was covered?

Think about these questions as we look look at the process a bit more in depth.

What is going to happen?

Beginning a new task will appear different to each person – to some daunting and others exciting.  Regardless of your expectations, you will face some sort of bump in the road as you proceed forward.  As we meet these challenges, we are going to be forced to work harder, think smarter and rely on our preparation to carry us through.

Through our battle, our laces will be put to the test and will allow one of two events to take place:

  1. They will propel us forward
  2. They will cause setbacks

Fastened, and holding tight:

Marathon runner or not, 26.2 is a helluva long distance to cover.  Depending on the runner’s ability, we can estimate that is going to require being on your feet for about 4 hours.  Now, visually in your head imagine walking out of your front door and where you would arrive if you traveled 26.2 miles.  It is likely that you had to speed up at times and slow down at others due to traffic conditions.  Or even dodge a pothole in your lane while avoiding the traffic moving in the opposite direction.  Maybe you had to hit the wipers once or twice because the construction zone covered the windshield with dust and dirt.

There is no need to analyze each and every turn, but we get the idea that it requires effort, thought and execution to arrive at the end result.  If we want to safely arrive at our destination despite meeting hardship, it is necessary to take action prior to departure.  Did we place have enough fuel in the tank?  Were the tires properly inflated with air.  Was the wiper blade making good contact with the windshield?

Each of the previous questions are exactly what is meant when we say that we must lace up for every objective that we aim for.  By simply taking a few extra seconds to pay attention to these small details, we can enjoy the satisfaction upon arriving at our destination.

Loose, and bursting at the seams:

Now, let’s imagine the same scenario from a different perspective.  You hurriedly walk out of your front door to make the 26.2 mile trek across town.  The back left tire looks a bit low on air pressure.  It’s slightly raining, but your wipers haven’t worked in a few weeks.  The fuel guage – it will make it.  But, you’re in a hurry so you fail to stop at the gas station at the end of the block.

Thirteen miles across town the light drizzle becomes or horrendous downpour.  After 16 miles you hit a six inch pothole in the road because your wipers weren’t working properly and you couldn’t see.  A mile later at 17 you notice the car bouncing violently with each revolution of the tire.  No time for stopping now you made it to mile 20 – only to have the car conk out 2 miles later.  To make matters worse, it is a country road and the last gas station was at mile marker 17 when the car first started shaking.

What went wrong?  What caused this?  Could it have been prevented?

Importance of Lacing up:

Without question, the Boston Marathon is one of the pinnacle racing events every third Monday in April.  People aiming to make it there are of an elite category.  It requires sheer physical, emotional and mental strength.  Additionally, qualification times must be met on nationally certified Boston qualifying race courses.

Months of training and commitment are put to the test.  For some, getting to Boston has required years of work as the qualifying times become faster and harder to reach.  Although this year – it is the year.

The race begins and the course is challenging.  A few more hills than expected, and the terrain isn’t the greatest.  At least three times, the shoestrings unwind, causing one shoe to trip on the other.  Each time it takes 20 seconds to re-lace and regain composure.  When the finish line approaches, the time reads ‘3:05.45’.  The qualifying time is 3:05.00.

Years of exertion and hundreds of miles later.  One fall.  One tiny detail.

Presenting your research findings at the end of the semester, but fail to meet the requirements?  Applying for a dream job, but misspell the contact name in your cover letter?  Diving into a new career, but haven’t researched the qualifications?

A key component to our success hinges on our ability to pay attention to detail. Regardless of how big or small, we must address each one.  Our laces are our foundation.  Build a strong foundation, endure the hardships and reap the rewards.

What is something you do to ensure all details have been given proper attention?  Feel free to share!

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One Comment on “Lacing up – Why the smallest details can propel us or cause setbacks.

  1. Pingback: Without Growth, Mediocrity is a Certainty | Building United

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