• Ariana Friedlander

The starting block

While I was on the track and field team in middle school, I typically ran sprints, including hurdles. Getting positioned properly on the starting blocks for short distance runs was essential to being competitive.

One time during a meet I was distracted. I didn't get into the proper position on the starting blocks and the rest of my 200-meter sprint was a disaster. My footing was off and as a result, I couldn't hit the hurdles right. I came in dead last. It was a pretty embarrassing race for me and I was happy when we left that meet.

For so many, 2020 has been a hard and difficult year that we're ready to leave behind. But there's no magic wand that gets waved when the New Year strikes, making everything perfect. In order for 2021 to be better, we have do our part.

Just like running a race, how we get started in this New Year makes all the difference. But as one leader I interviewed observed, "it was the realization early on for me that this was going to be a marathon and not a sprint. Soon as I realized that I'm like, okay, slow down, figure it out."


How you get started in a long-distance run is equally important, yet different. It's less about getting positioned properly on the starting block and more about pace and strategy. It's about slowing down and figuring it out so you can perform consistently over a long period of time.

I've never been a fan of New Year's resolutions, they don't have the staying power that's required to make lasting positive change. Yet, this time of year offers a wonderful opportunity to slow down, reflect on the big picture, gain clarity and set intentions for the months and year ahead.

Running and winning races is both a science and an art-form. There are the indisputable laws of physics at play with entropy and mass, force, and exertion. But equally important is belief.


For over 60 years, runners had been trying and unsuccessful at running faster than a 4-minute mile. That is until 1954 when Roger Bannister broke the 4-minute mile. Within less than two months, another runner beat Bannister's time. And in a short time, many others had broken the 4-minute mile barrier.

Once Bannister did it, everyone else believed it was possible and as a result, they could do it too.

For anyone that wants 2021 to be everything 2020 was not, getting a good start is essential. And just like running, your habits and beliefs will make the difference between maintaining or losing your advantage. As Henry Ford famously said, "Whether you think you can or you think you can't, you're right."

Do you want to get a strong start to the New Year? Join me for the New Years Day Journal Jam and set yourself up to thrive in 2021!

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