“I’ll race you.” He flashed me a mischievous grin. “Up the hill, past that circle of pines.”
I glanced in the direction he was pointing. Seriously? The hill he’d chosen was impossibly steep. . .and buried in snow.
Talk about a suicide mission.
I checked my sturdy snow boots and calculated my chances of beating him. Problem #1: He ran track in school. He was faster than me. Problem #2: Little legs. Big hill. I would probably die halfway up. Problem #3: If I fell, I would probably disappear in a giant snowdrift and never be seen again.
But at least I would die trying.
I looked him in the eye. “Challenge accepted.”
We sprinted up the slope of the hill. He shot past me, frustratingly fast. I was falling behind already? The wind pushed against me. Snow stung down my collar, burned my eyes.
I would never make it to the top of the hill.
He glanced back, grinning when he saw the distance between us. Competition sparked strength inside me where there had formerly been weakness.
You are stronger than you think.
I pumped my legs, fighting through the snow. Little by little, second by second, I began to gain on him. Running neck-in-neck.
Then I passed him.
A fresh burst of speed.
The elation of victory burning through me.
Behind me, I heard his frustrated grunt as he fought to catch up.
I pushed myself harder, barreling through mounds of snow, determination my fuel. The top of the hill rose to view, only feet away now.
You can do this!
I stopped a foot away from the top, arms folded in triumph. I did it, beat the odds. I raised my arms in a victory wave and prepared to gloat whenever he finally reached me.
That’s when it happened.
Snow sprayed over my boots. Movement blurred in the side of my vision. I looked up, incredulous, as he raced past me and up the final foot of the hill.
“You forgot to go all the way to the top,” he said.
The words struck me harder than the loss. In a way, the race is similar to the challenges we face as writers. We fight for so long to get our foot in the door, then, when we’re close to the top, we give up. Think that maybe, maybe, we should rewrite our dreams. After all, if the agent/editor/beta reader really was interested in our books, they would have contacted us by now, right? We forget our carefully laid plans and all the work it took us to get to this spot, and decide there’s no reason to keep climbing.
We stop because we think we’ve reached as high as we need to go.
“Query another agent? Nah. Obviously it’s never going to work out.”
“Rewrite this beginning? No, my readers are wrong.”
“I don’t have time to hire an editor. I’m just going to put my book out there and see what people think.”
Little steps backward when we should be making steps forward.
Don’t grow complacent and sit on your success. Keep fighting. Keep growing. Chase your goals with relentless passion. Be everything you can be…and more.
After all, stopping near the top is the same as failing halfway.
And failure is not an option.
How do you keep yourself motivated to pursue your goals?