Skip to the main content.
Start Living a Life Beyond Your Default
Get more with our monthly newsletters

1 min read

Navigating the Starting Lines of Your Life and the Finish Line You Deserve (Episode 2)

Navigating the Starting Lines of Your Life and the Finish Line You Deserve (Episode 2)


When it comes to life, it's easy to think that we only have one starting line in life — the moment we take our first breath on the day we're born. 

While it's true our birth is likely the ultimate starting line we experience in life, it's certainly not the only one. In fact, there are many "starting lines." Starting lines are significant moments or periods that have shaped our personal narratives and influenced our future paths.


⚡ Related: Cultivating a Relationship with Ourselves to Unlock Our Inner Power

In this episode, George shares two significant starting lines in his own life, as well as the importance of recognizing when and how you can begin again. 

Key Discussion Topics

  • Understanding Starting Lines: George explains that starting lines are often seen as significant moments at the beginning of our lives that we remember forever. These can be positive or negative experiences that we believe directly correlate to where we'll end up in life.

  • George's Personal Starting Lines: George shares two of his own starting lines. The first is his humble beginnings in a one-room log cabin in Lincoln, Montana. The second is a negative experience in high school when a teacher told him he would never amount to anything, leading him to drop out and join the Navy.

  • Reframing Negative Starting Lines: George emphasizes reframing negative starting lines. He explains that these experiences can be seen from a positive perspective and serve as tools for survival and success.

  • Recognizing Starting Lines: George believes that while most people recognize starting lines retrospectively, we can train ourselves to identify them as they happen. This can help us to drive harder and faster into new opportunities.

  • The Importance of Starting Lines: George argues that recognizing and understanding our starting lines is crucial for personal growth. They allow us to reflect on how far we've come and can provide fuel for our future journeys.

  • Asking the Right Questions: George suggests asking ourselves questions about our feelings and those of others involved in our starting lines. This can help us gain a 360-degree perspective and unlock deeper insights.

  • Learning from Discomfort: George shares that one of the most uncomfortable but powerful learnings he had was realizing that he could learn anything. This came from a period of introspection and challenging his own beliefs about his intelligence and capabilities.

Episode Transcript

Liz Moorehead: Welcome back to Beyond the Default. I'm Liz Moorhead, and as always, I'm joined by George B. Thomas. This week, we're talking about starting lines. Before we delve into this topic, George, could you explain what we mean by starting lines, especially in our lives?

George B. Thomas: Absolutely, Liz. The concept of starting lines is more profound than most people realize. Typically, people think of starting lines as a significant moment early in their lives, either positive or negative, that they remember vividly. However, our discussion today will explore how starting lines are often linked to our perceived endpoints or finish lines.

Liz Moorehead: Let's dive right in. George, I understand you'd like to discuss a particular starting line in your life. Could you share that with us?

George B. Thomas: Sure, Liz. I want to highlight two starting lines in my life to illustrate that we often have multiple starting lines. Often perceived negatively, these starting lines have both positive and negative aspects. My first starting line was growing up in a small town called Lincoln, Montana, in a one-room log cabin without running water. While feeling small and limited's a negative aspect to this, there's also a positive side. Looking back, I see myself enjoying life, unaware of these limitations. This starting line taught me that I don't have to be confined by my beginnings.

The second starting line occurred when I was 17, a freshman in high school. My math teacher publicly told me I would never amount to anything, which led me to drop out of high school and join the Navy. This negative experience initially reinforced my belief in my limitations. However, over time, I've seen these starting lines as fuel for my growth, teaching me resilience and the importance of continuous learning.

Liz Moorehead: That's a powerful reflection. How do you reconcile these starting lines, especially the second one, which could be seen more as an ending than a beginning?

George B. Thomas: It took me years to realize that every ending is also a beginning. Every decision marks the end of one phase and the start of another. While the end of my high school years closed many doors, it was the beginning of whom I would become. Recognizing that these transitions are not just endings but also opportunities for new beginnings is crucial.

Liz Moorehead: It's interesting how some of our lives' most profound starting lines are not the literal beginnings. Do you think recognizing these starting lines is a reflective exercise, or can we train ourselves to identify them as they happen?

George B. Thomas: Great question, Liz. For most people, including myself, recognizing starting lines is often retrospective. However, we can train ourselves to identify potential starting lines as they happen. This involves being attuned to our intuition and the cues life gives us. For example, starting my own business was a deliberate starting line, driven by a strong gut feeling and a clear vision.

Liz Moorehead: Why should we care about starting lines? What significance do they hold beyond being reflective milestones?

George B. Thomas: Starting lines are crucial because they help us measure our growth and progress. They remind us of our journey and the lessons we've learned. Understanding and appreciating our starting lines enable us to see how far we've come and our potential to grow further. They are integral to our personal stories, which can inspire and impact others.

Liz Moorehead: What questions do you ask yourself when reflecting on these starting lines?

George B. Thomas: When reflecting on starting lines, I ask myself how I felt about the situation, why I felt that way, and if there are alternative perspectives I should consider. It's also important to consider the perspectives of others involved. This helps in gaining a complete understanding of the situation and learning from it.

Liz Moorehead: Can you share a powerful learning you gained by evaluating one of your starting lines?

George B. Thomas: One of the most significant realizations was understanding that I can learn anything. For years, I doubted my intelligence and potential. However, by challenging this belief and embracing a growth mindset, I discovered my ability to learn and adapt, which has been crucial in my personal and professional development.

Liz Moorehead: How does mindset influence our perception of starting and ending points in our lives?

George B. Thomas: Mindset plays a crucial role. A negative mindset can blind us to the positive aspects and potential learnings of our experiences. By shifting to a positive mindset, we can uncover valuable insights and strengths we might have overlooked.

Liz Moorehead: Finally, what would you say if you could return to that classroom and speak to your younger self?

George B. Thomas: I would tell my younger self that everything will be okay, that he's destined to do great things, and that this is all part of a larger plan. I assure him that despite the challenges, he is strong enough to overcome them and that these experiences will enable him to help others in their journeys.

Liz Moorehead: Thank you, George, for sharing your insights and experiences with us. It's been a truly enlightening conversation about the importance and impact of starting lines in our lives.

George B. Thomas: Absolutely, Liz. It's crucial to understand that our starting lines, whether they seem positive or negative at the time, shape who we are. They're not just points in our past; they're launching pads for our future growth and development. They teach us resilience, adaptability, and the importance of perspective.

Liz Moorehead: That's a profound way to look at it. Starting lines are not just about where we begin but also about how we evolve and grow from those points.

George B. Thomas: Exactly. It's about the journey from those starting points. Each starting line brings its own set of challenges and opportunities. How we respond to these and what we learn from them defines our path forward. It's about embracing each starting line, no matter how daunting, as an opportunity for growth and transformation.

Liz Moorehead: In a way, starting lines are less about the actual events, more about our responses to them, and the lessons we learn.

George B. Thomas: Precisely. It's our response to these starting lines that genuinely matters. They are opportunities to learn more about ourselves, to develop resilience, and to grow in ways we might not have imagined. It's about turning challenges into stepping stones for personal and professional growth.

Liz Moorehead: That's an incredibly empowering way to view life's challenges and beginnings. Thank you, George, for sharing your wisdom and experiences with us. It's been an enlightening discussion on the power and significance of starting lines in shaping our lives.

George B. Thomas: Thank you, Liz. It's been a pleasure discussing this with you. Our conversation inspires others to view their starting lines as opportunities for growth and positive change. Remember, every starting line is a chance to write a new chapter in your story.

Liz Moorehead: Absolutely. And with that, we wrap up another episode of Beyond the Default. Thank you, George, and thank you to our listeners for joining us. We hope this conversation inspires you to reflect on your own starting lines and the incredible journey they have set you on. Until next time, keep moving beyond your default.