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Bill WhiteBill White
A blog about mental and emotional health

10 Ways To Finish The Race With The Bear On Your Back!

Bill White Updated: Sep 20th 2010

You've been running this particular race seemingly forever. But the finish line's in view. It's time to draw upon your every internal resource to get the job done. You can do it!

I ran track in high school, and my specialty was the 440-yard dash. We had an expression for the overwhelming physical and mental exhaustion that sets in at the 330-yard final turn - "The bear's on your back."

No doubt about it, the race was won in that final 110 yards. And it took planning, skill, and guts to hit the finish line.

runner at the finish lineIsn't it the same for any of life's races?

Let's work through one such contest. Janet lost her job two months ago. It's been a horrible 60 days, and she's endured severe blows to her finances and self-esteem. She's emailed resume after resume, robbed Peter to pay Paul, and talked herself though defeat too many times to count.

Janet's tired, but she remains in the race.

Well, she finally got the call, and the job she wanted most is hers. She's ecstatic and believes she's reached the finish line. But she realizes she won't be starting the job for a week, and her first direct deposit won't hit until 11 days later.

Janet is at the 330 yard turn, and she wonders and worries how's she's going to finish the race.

So what do you think? How will she? Let's lend her a hand. I'm going to start a list of strategies and techniques based upon my life experience, and it'll become a group effort when you add to it in a comment.

10 Ways To Finish The Race With The Bear On Your Back!

1. Always have a race management plan in your back pocket and calmly customize it as indicated.

2. Keep a current inventory of your strengths and weaknesses.

3. Remain focused, but cool.

4. Anticipate trouble and be ready at a moment's notice to implement your management plan.

5. Learn to monitor and manage your emotional, mental, and physical energy; always making sure you have reserves.

6. Remain mindful of your mission, and maintain a visualization of your great jubilation when you cross the finish line.

7. Write notes of inspiration and motivation, keeping them within easy reach. For example, Janet could tape seven pieces of paper to her refrigerator door, each with the next seven dates written on them. And she could remove one daily in a countdown to victory, as she starts her job.

8. Take great pride in your dedication, performance, and toughness.

9. Be worthy of your emotional, mental, and physical sufferings.

10. Never, ever, ever even consider quitting!

Life can be one 440-yard dash after another, don't you think? And even after gutting our way through the final 110 yards, the starting gun's often locked and loaded for the next challenge.

So it's up to each of us to learn how to manage our assorted races, especially as the finish line comes into view.

And though it often seems as though it never will - it always does.

Bill White

After enduring decades of anxiety, depression, and alcoholism; Bill made it out of the woods. He found his life’s passion along the way, earned his counseling credentials, and is ready to lend a hand. Visit his blog at, and you can contact Bill at

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