I've run, successfully, a dozen marathons. You wouldn't know it by looking at me now but there was a time I was slim, trim and, even, sinewy.
I was never an "elite" runner. I naturally big-boned and even at my slimmest had a hard time getting below 190. However, I was good--a top 10% kind of guy--capable of running a marathon in the low 3s. That's a 7:15 mile pace for 26 miles.
Ah, but that's many years and many pounds ago.
And not the point of this post.
The point of this post is a metaphor.
A marathon is what we run at work.
The start of an assignment is often like the start of a race.
You're off with speed and enthusiasm.
The end of an assignment is often like the end of a race.
You stand tall, marshall your innate strength and resolve and finish strong.
It's the middle miles, the middle of an assignment that separate the men from the boys (in a non-gender specific way.)
These are the gnarly, painful miles where everything hurts and crowds are thin. Your initial burst of enthusiasm has vanished. And your end-of-race adrenaline is still fallow.
This is the territory where your head has to emerge.
It has to calm you down.
It has to remove your pain.
It has to tell you that you don't have 20 miles left, you have one.
And when you're done with that one, you have one more.
And so on, until you finish.
There are a lot of vicissitudes we face in life.
Panickers, second-guessers, wind-bags.
The trick is out-lasting them.