Did you enjoy watching some of the Olympics? As I watched various events, I was struck again by how important the start is for athletes. It’s important for you and me, too.

In swimming, athletes wait for one whistle, get up on their stand or into the water, wait for the second whistle, get into position, and then launch themselves into the water at the exact right moment – not too early and not too late. If they’re too early, they’re disqualified. If they’re too late, they most likely won’t medal.

It’s similar for the running events in track. Athletes get into their position, place their feet into the grips when they’re supposed to, and wait for the gun to go off. There’s pressure at the start!

Gymnasts also have a particular start to what they do. Did you notice that? They approach their apparatus with a ready body posture, always with a smile. When they’re notified to do so, they position themselves with a wider smile and begin. If their first hand-grip is off or they launch toward the vault on the wrong foot, they’ll not do well. The start matters.

I’m determined to think more about my beginnings. I want to be more strategic and intentional. Just like the athletes, I want to win at what I set out to do. The start is relevant to the finish.

I also want to be like swimmers and runners who may have false-started and been disqualified. They have to shake it off when beginning the next race. New beginnings – that’s what life is full of, and I’m grateful.

Will you join me with a new emphasis on beginnings? Is this something you might want to talk with your children about? We have the start of the day and the start of the evening when everybody is home again. We have the start of a weekend and the start of a meal. We have the start of homework and the start of projects. And we can restart after false starts. Yes, we can.

[callout]This is slightly adapted from an article I wrote for our email newsletter. We send it every other Tuesday. It also includes an excellent column from Tina Hollenbeck that will bless you, news about products, my speaking schedule, and more. You can subscribe here if you’re interested.[/callout]