Hudson Taylor said, “Do not have your concert first and then tune your instrument afterwards.” This bit of common sense counsels us that our “Befores” are intended to precede our “Afters”. Why? Because there is something significant going on in between that works only when the sequence is correct.
Think of a race track. The starting line always precedes the finish line and there’s always a meaningful journey in between. Otherwise, the Olympics might have a one-millimeter dash.
If we analyze our lives we are likely to recall times when we were tempted to take shortcuts, even trying to start races at the finish line. Sometimes temptation won and when it did, we lost. Below are two categories of broken races that are more metaphoric than realistic. Some are downright preposterous, but all contain a lesson intended to challenge our modus operandi.
Running the Race in Reverse:
- Dry your laundry then wash it.
- Eat your food then cook it.
- Jump from the plane then put on your parachute.
- Swallow the liquid then read the label.
- Pull the trigger then ask, “Who’s there?”
- Go out to the mailbox then get dressed.
- Saw the board then measure it.
- Fire, aim, ready.
- Swallow before chewing.
- Develop relationships without engagement.
- Take action without a plan.
- Seek progress without change.
- Create strategies without information.
- Expect potential without learning, practicing, developing and implementing.
- Pursue efficiency without systems and processes.
- Expect career success without intentional learning, consistent practice, strategic development and the help of coaches and mentors.