False Starts


Spring is coming for real – eventually!

If you’re living somewhere in the Midwest U.S. right not you probably think the weather is having a false start to spring. It’s kind of crazy having 60 and 70 degree days at the end of February right? Especially when we know – really KNOW – that there’s another doozy of a snow storm coming, probably in mid to late March. Hell, it could even come in April.

But that’s the way life is sometimes. Sure I can’t do much about the weather or stop my plants from thinking it’s time to start growing only to be stunted by a late snow storm.

But false starts can and do happen all the time and not just with the weather.

Have you ever been working toward some goal or dreaming of something for so long that it becomes impossible to wait any longer? You start thinking of ways to make it happen even if you know deep down it’s not time yet?

Happens to me all the time. I get halfway through the planning phase and I’m ready to go. Forget trying to plan for contingencies or setbacks. Forget that the money probably isn’t there yet. I want to start and I want to start now dammit!

If things go wrong once I start well then I can just fix them as I go…

And that’s usually when even more frustration sets in because the problems and setbacks come one right after another. Sure I am able to work through them and around them and the end result is usually acceptable, but I can’t help but wonder if there was a better way afterwards.

I can’t help but wonder if I had waited another day or week or month even if I would have been able to anticipate some of the problems and figured out how to keep them from happening. Sure this kind of thinking can stop progress all together. It can cause doubt and fear to paralyze me from acting at all, but that’s just an excuse to do things when and how I want to do them.

I know that now because I’ve had false starts in the past. I’ve lived through the frustration and anger. I’ve also waited and as painful as that was initially I usually ended up with a far better outcome. But, oh man, was waiting hard…

It’s still hard. I know where I want to go and what I want to do. I know that it will happen. The problem is, as I’ve written before, I want it now! And I’ve paid the price…

I used to wonder why there was a penalty for false starts in football, but now that I think about it the penalties in life are much harsher. In football it’s just about making sure no one has an unfair advantage, but in life it doesn’t really have much to do with anyone else.

False starts in life can cause untold heartache and misery. Think about your first spouse or failed business. If you’re anything like me you had alarm bells going off inside you at the time so loud you couldn’t hear anything else – until you could.

That’s the problem with false starts, after we make them a few times they become a habit. And pretty soon we just rush headlong into anything without any consideration. If we’re lucky someone or something stands in our way long enough to make us stop and consider and change our course, but most of the time even that’s not enough. Then pretty soon we’re halfway down the field with nothing but a trail of destruction and regret in our wake wondering how the hell our lives got so screwed up.

But I’m living proof that it doesn’t have to be that way. You can take a time out. It’s good to take a time out every once in a while. It takes discipline and sucks, but it’s worth it.

I know I have a limited amount of time. But I also know that if I don’t stop sometimes and think and realize that the Earth isn’t going to suddenly explode if I’m not making a life-altering decision then it won’t matter how much time I have if my life sucks beyond all belief. If I’ve gotten myself into a hole it will take twice as long to dig out of. If I’ve hurt the ones I love with all of my false starts because they just want to support me.

I can’t do much about the weather except enjoy the good and endure the bad. But I can do something about my false starts.

How about you?


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