It feels impossible to sprint later

On May 6, 2012, in Leadership, by Jeremy C Wilson

This theory is true much of the time.  Imagine running a one mile race.  You start off in the middle of the pack and pace yourself.  You bet on the idea that in another lap or so, you’ll shift gears, catch up and eventually win.  But there’s just one problem. The moment you try, you don’t have as much left in the tank as you thought.

This happens all the time. In track meets, a runner starts off running to slow and then when they try to sprint and catch up, the runner can barely maintain their speed, let alone run faster. Especially in really long race.

It happens all the time in basketball too. A team plays half heartedly before playing hard in the 4th quarter. Then they start making a run but before they can catch up, the game ends. Or the team doesn’t have enough energy to make it all the way.

The same thing is true in business. You start off doing just enough,  but when you try to push something through later,  execution issues in slow you down. And you don’t have the time to attend to everything.

In law firms, the deadlines come up too fast and you may not have enough time to do all the research.

In the start up world, too many issues surface and you don’t have the time to take care of them all.

I propose the idea that in some cases, it might make sense to start off faster. To run harder. To do more. To spring NOW. Because when the time comes to “turn it on” you may not have as much in the tank as you need.


2 Responses to “It feels impossible to sprint later”

  1. @Tom Spencer Thank you for commenting. Yes, I have heard that phrase before. And it’s definitely true for me as well.

  2. Tom Spencer says:

    Hi Jeremy,

    I enjoyed this post, and I think it is a very good insight. Pushing hard early is difficult, but there are definite rewards. An Oxford MBA grad once described it this way, “it is important to put in the hard work early when you have the energy. I always worked on the basis that every hour I spent studying before lunch was worth two hours after lunch”.


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