I admit, there is a problem that has haunted me my entire life. Well, ok, a few. But one in particular has been on my mind of late. I have always wanted to push myself, usually too hard, too fast, too much. When I was a kid and our driveway would be covered with snow, I’d drive my parents nuts because I’d always go grab for the biggest shovel we had. In school I wanted to get straight As, then I wanted to be valedictorian (mostly succeeded on the former, not on the latter).

My latest adventure, which you may have heard or read about if you hang around me much, is that I wanted to try to do a marathon. Twenty-six miles. I knew my time would stink. I knew it would probably be mostly walking, but I wanted to see if I could start at the starting line and end at the finish line while remaining alive. Bear in mind, I’ve never been an athlete before. I’ve been training since January, rather aggressively. Even as it became apparent that a half-marathon would still be a heckuva challenge, I kept working at it.

A few weeks ago, I started waking up with this pain in the arch of my left foot. It went away after a few minutes, so I didn’t think much about it. Then last week it didn’t go away all day, and by this weekend I could barely walk on my foot. I’m still limping around. The common response to this predicament has been almost unanimous. I pushed myself too hard. Trying to go from 0 to 26 in nine months is ridiculous. Had I done it, it would have been miraculous, of course. But having tried it, I have now taken many steps backwards.

Kind of silly, right? But I think we all do this in one way or another. Are you working 17 hours a day and sleeping 2 hours a day so that you can build your business? Are you trying to write a book in 3 months, sacrificing what used to be your exercise time or your relaxation time? Are you trying to get all of your speaking engagements done by such and such a date so you can do something else?

I bet you are. And my left foot would like to tell you that this is most decidedly not a good idea. Eventually, it catches up with you. It might not always be something as relatively benign as plantar fasciitis either. Check out this story from Tinu Abayomi-Paul, which I found thanks to Shelly Kramer and Allen Mireles. She pushed herself too hard and ended up with a serious case of pneumonia that landed her in the ICU.

You don’t want that, I’m fairly certain.

We all need to slow down and look at the big picture. Today, my advice is for myself as much as it is for you. Embrace the day, don’t race the day.

Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/wheatfields/3938695154/ via Creative Commons