I wrote about those with the ability to Finish Strong over four years ago, but my focus then was on perseverance to continue to the finish; I considered the start to the extent that the point of starting is to finish. In order to Start Fast, however, you must have abundant stored energy and a strong will to disrupt the status quo and begin moving forward – quickly.
A fast start can be fueled by an adrenaline rush, but that approach is not sustainable without intense training and preparation over a long period of time to build stamina. After all, marathon winners don't spend all their time running wind sprints! To flash out of the gates, but then quickly fade, doesn't align with the final objective. The point is to get going swiftly and keep going until the goal is achieved. This approach requires fresh infusions of energy and encouragement along the way.
A fast start can be exhilarating, but only demoralizes the competition when they realize they cannot catch you. Even better is to take the lead and then steadily pull away as the race progresses. If you set out to lead from the start, you'd better be supremely confident about your ability to hold the pace over time. When you do so, you can distance yourself from the pack.
To achieve a fast start, however, requires training intensity that others will never see or fully appreciate. But high performers aren't worried about others anyway; they focus on continuous personal and professional improvement through their own discipline and effort. They are leaders.
Come from behind victories may be exciting (aka nerve-wracking) for the fans, but statistically that approach is not a formula for consistent success. It's much better to train hard and be ready to leap ahead and stay there. This approach also requires you to look within for drive and determination, not at someone else’s back whom you hope to chase down and eventually pass, especially if they stumble. The best athletes don't stumble, however; they surge to the front and have the ability to stay there. The same is true of peak performers in any realm. They are exhilarated by leading, not following the pack. If you want to see a living example, look no further than Coach Jim.
It pays to decide what kind of race you'll run, before you start. With the right preparation, you can Start Fast and Finish Strong. Enjoy the race!