It’s a marathon

Day 66. I have always been impressed by marathon runners. The marathon runner has physical strength, ability and stamina. But to go the distance, the physical attributes of the runner are not enough. To get to across the finish line the marathon runner must maintain a consistent mental focus and control. A change from positive to negative, from an “I can do this” to an “I am not going to make it” attitude is fatal. It is this ability to maintain under pressure a positive attitude, to have mental and emotional endurance – which I admire most in the marathon runner.

Mental and emotional endurance is important not only for runners. Life is full of circumstances that require one to keep a positive mental focus in the face of an ongoing challenge.

I recall that first day 66 days ago when I awoke at 4:15 am, made a cup of coffee, and excitedly began my first remote workday. I was full of positive energy, determined to lead and support my co-workers, reduce their apprehension, calm their fears, be a source of reassurance that “we were all in this together”, and let our clients know that our transformation into a virtual law firm would be seamless.

Those first days turned into a week. The weeks turned into a month and I was settling into my new routine. The day continued to start early but now, instead of checking the news and getting out of the house early enough to attend services at my synagogue and beat the rush hour traffic, i now started each day with a “Good Morning SLS!!!” email to my law firm, drafting a blog post ,and either getting on my Peleton or walking a few miles in my neighborhood or through Brookside Gardens. With each day I was getting used to and even enjoying my new routine.

But its all about mental endurance; staying focused during the entire race – not just at the beginning, not just in the middle. The marathon runner has to maintain focus for every mile from beginning to end. Any lapse will mean failure.

After 65 days of this pandemic, its stresses and restrictions, and as we move into the next phase of this crisis with its many unknowns and risks, it is becoming more difficult to maintain, day to day, the calm, positive focus required to prevail. I am getting tired of my new routine (wishing I could get back to my old one….not!) and stressing about the challenges and unknowns, professional and in general, which loom in the future.

I have to remind myself – this is a marathon. Stay focused.

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