Norton: The starts and stops of life (column)
Although the summer doesn’t officially begin until June 20, we often talk about Memorial Day weekend as the unofficial start of the summer. Parties, barbecues, picnics and all sorts of outdoor activity quickly move us from thinking about winter and spring and launch us right into summertime.
Unofficial starts are good — any “start” is good. Even companies launching a new product, or a startup company, might do something called a “soft launch” before bringing its products and services to the market. Again, any kind of “start” or “soft launch” is good: It gets us started, gets us going and energizes everyone involved.
Here we are celebrating the unofficial start of summer. In October and November, depending on snowfall, we get excited over the unofficial start to winter as the first lifts open and we get back on the hill. It’s fun, it’s energizing; The “starts” in life motivate us and inspire us as we look forward with great anticipation to what is coming next.
What about the unofficial stops in life? The soft stops? Those pauses when we say or believe that we just need to take a short break from our goals or projects. In most cases, we know what happens, don’t we? Those unofficial stops and soft stops turn into official stops and hard stops. We never intend for this to happen — we just seem to run out of gas, or our interest fades, or we move on to the next new thing in our path or life.
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Where unofficial starts and soft launches are both really good, we have to be aware and careful of those unofficial stops and soft stops. We start a new workout and commit ourselves to the program. We are doing a really good job, getting there on the days we committed to being there, we are feeling really good … And then, all of a sudden, we think we should take a day off, then a second day and then a third, and before we know it, our soft stop or temporary break from the gym becomes a hard stop, and we are done.
We know that we want to write a book, create music or start a business. We have an unofficial start as we brainstorm ideas, get energized and just become completely consumed with our passion and our ideas. It’s awesome because we started, we took the first steps, our adrenaline is pumping and we can’t wait to keep going. And this is when we really have to keep our guard up, because here is where negative thinking or negative people will talk us out of fulfilling our dream. And if we allow this to happen, our energy and passion train gets slowed down, and our soft stop eventually becomes a hard stop, leaving our dreams unfulfilled.
“You don’t have to be great in order to start, but you do have to start in order to be great.” — Zig Ziglar
So, whether it’s an unofficial start or your own soft launch for anything you desire or wish to pursue, it’s a start. And a start is good, a start is powerful, and nothing happens until we start. No matter what time of year it is and whatever unofficial start it might be, it’s time that we start to dream, start to imagine, start to take action and start to live out all that we want to be, do and have in this world.
So how about you? Are you in start-and-go mode? Or have you let a little soft stop become a hard stop? Either way, I would love to hear your “start” story at firstname.lastname@example.org, and when we turn our unofficial starts and soft launches into full on pursuit of our goals and dreams, it really will be a better-than-good week.
Michael Norton is the chief revenue officer for Eventus Solutions Group, a strategic consultant, business, and personal coach, and motivational speaker. He writes a weekly motivational column for the Vail Daily.