Each of us has a story to tell. Our stories serve as the connection of our past towards our future. Our stories serve as the fuel and potential of our greatest impact to influence those around us. If I had to sum up my life’s story at this point and time of my life, I would have say it feels and looks much like a race. A running race.
I titled this article “Run Your Race as to Win” because I believe too many of us run life’s race to lose. We are in the race physically, but our minds are far from the expectation of competing with purpose and significance.
Realize it or not, you are in a race of life and only you can determine how you will end up at the finish line.
My question to you is:
How are you running your life’s race?
Many people run life’s race without strategy or goals. They simply run here and there without structure or a plan of action to accomplish what they want out of life. Some people have all the talent & natural ability in the world but lack self-confidence to break through the limits of negative thinking. Others run life’s race is if they are on autopilot. They have low expectations and do not expect much of themselves, therefore, handing over their rights and authority to someone else who will ultimately abuse them. And let’s not forget about the individuals who are running someone else’s race. These are individuals who are living life for the sole objective of gaining approval from family, friends, or co-workers. Their identity is wrapped up in what other people think about them. They lack self worth and look upon themselves with no-value. Lastly, there are individuals who have committed themselves to run with passion, with a clear sense of purpose and a road map to accomplish their goals.
My question to you is:
Who’s race are you running?
I believe we must run the race to win. Running the race has to do with an attitude of winning and serves as the framework for your success. As a high school, collegiate, and professional runner for many years, I have learned a few truths about running and how it relates to life. I encourage you to share in this experience with me as I’m confident your experiences may be similar. My goal is to give you a glimpse of what it takes to run your life’s race with success and fulfillment.
Stay in your lane
If you have ever watched the 100meter, 200meter or 400meter races in the Olympics, you may have noticed that there are lanes assigned to each runner. Each lane is defined by white lines that are equally distributed from left to right. The lane you are in represents the area that only you are allowed to run within. If you step outside your lane, you are disqualified and are no longer able to compete or complete the race. So how does this relate to you? Your lane represents your path to your finish line (your future and fulfillment of your purpose). The runner (which is you) represents your gifts and your talents. Only you can run the race according to what you have been given and if you step out or into someone else’s lane, you will be disqualified because you cannot reach the finish line using their gifts or talents. In other words:
“The greatest achievement you will have in your life is when you begin to utilize your God given gifts and abilities”.
You cannot win your race with someone else’s gift or ability.
Don’t look at your competition. Don’t compare yourself with others. When running, the goal is not so much that you are trying to beat the other runners, but you are trying to reach the finish line first. There is a difference! When running a race, you are so focused on sticking to your strategy that your efforts and energies should not be determined by what other people are doing. Running your race is absolutely critical to your success. Have you ever seen a race where a runner gains the lead quickly and shortly after begins to fade back towards the end of the race? Well, that happens for many reasons.
It could be strategic, but often, it’s not. It’s only strategic if the person who starts the race fast can maintain a certain level of speed to complete the race strong. Most runners simply cannot do this. The runner is so excited about running the race and competing with others that their initial strategy of running smart has been thrown out the window. These types of runners are like loose cannons. Their intentions may be good, but their execution is poor. They run too hard the first lap but their training could not sustain a level of consistency.
The race of life should not be about competing with your fellow man, but with yourself. Too many times we compete with others trying to do what they do or get what they have. Once you try to run their race, you will end up in total destruction. I have seen too many people; including myself at times, trying to be like someone else. Trying to be like someone else does two things really well.
It will cause you to forfeit your dreams because you are so focused on becoming someone else. You’ve put someone or something up on a pedestal and have made them your idol and measuring stick for success. That’s a wrong move.
It causes you to disregard, devalue, and not look within your own gifts and talents. This too is a wrong move. So many people look at what they don’t have that they miss out on opportunities that are available to them for which their own uniqueness fits like a hand in glove.
Be prepared to surge
If a runner is so focused on their competition he may allow the other runner to dictate the speed. In long distance running there is a term called “a surge”. A surge is a sudden burst of speed that can last from 10 seconds to one-minute. After the surge, the leader of the pack relaxes to the normal pace again. This can happen 4 or 5 times in a race depending on the event. The purpose of a surge is to not only frustrate your competitor but to tire them out quickly. Surges test and prove one’s conditioning level and strategic awareness within the race. Typically, those who do not run with the surge will be left behind.
There are times in our life where we need to surge. The type of surge that I’m referring to is when you’ve made up your mind that you are going to run the race in a competitive manner. It’s about making a committed decision and making the initiative. Your surge could be as simple as purchasing your first book in order to educate yourself on a certain business franchise or an how-to book that will guide you in starting your own business. It could be a phone call to your spouse saying I’m sorry and that I forgive you that will lead to a reconciliation of your marriage. It could also be something as simple as recognizing within yourself that you are not living to your full potential due to fear or anxiety and are now willing to step out of the boat to live the life you’ve always wanted. Whatever it may be, a surge is a good thing. Your surge may just be the spark you need to get back on your path and fulfill your life’s purpose.
Believe in Yourself
No person can truly run the race to win unless they believe they can. As mentioned above, running the race of life has nothing to do with others, but everything to do with self. Once you master who you are, where you are going and how you are going to get there, the chances of you succeeding are very high. Your success begins and ends with you. When pursuing a goal, (whatever it may be) it requires that you become a self-motivated individual. Self motivation cannot be taught. It must be birthed out of a passion. Self motivators don’t need much of anything to get them excited about pursuing their goal and taking action. They simply are that way because the desire of achieving outweighs the thought of failure.
Believing in yourself requires that you stay focused on the task at hand, but it also requires that you focus on your strengths. We are all born with different gifts and talents and it’s much easier to accomplish the goals we set for ourselves when we operate within our natural abilities. Finding success in what you do well will naturally breed confidence in you. It is this confidence that catapults you to another level of appreciation and success.
Believing in yourself is about attitude. Attitude is like a muscle. It needs to be developed over and over again, and there is always room for growth. Your attitude determines your altitude. Belief in yourself is also about perspective. Individuals who believe in themselves are a different kind of breed. A believer’s perspective is about self-confidence and making the decision that they want the best for themselves. They’ve put aside the negative talk, negative thinking, and the lackluster environment and instead surround themselves with people who are like-minded and are willing to share in their experience.
I encourage you to stay in your lane, do not compare yourself with others, be prepared to make a surge and have confidence in yourself. Do these things and be sure to know that your life race will carry you to the finish line with winning results.