To enjoy victory in life, remember: it doesn’t matter how long you’re in the lead … you have to finish well.
The last day of the 2023 Atlantic Coast Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships featured an unusual outcome in the women’s 400 meter relay. Duke University held the lead from the start. They were fast. Their baton handoffs were smooth and on point. They were picture perfect, even as the University of Miami nearly pulled in front on the final stretch. Victory was assured for Duke when their final runner pushed herself to go harder and won the race by just two tenths of a second.
But then, chaos. Moments after the race ended, officials announced a problem. After review, it was determined that the runner for Duke had inadvertently dropped her baton just two feet from the finish line. Despite holding the lead for the entire race, Duke was disqualified for crossing the finish line without the baton in-hand.
We don’t run a race to get to the middle … but to get to the end. The same holds true for building a career, nurturing a marriage, or striving to be a good parent. None of us gets from where we are to where we hope to be without overcoming a few challenges along the way. To finish strong, we need dedication, skill, and hard work. But we also need the ability to stay focused until the job is done. It’s not enough for us to run fast and hold the lead throughout the race … we want to finish well.