Run Your Race

From the biblical meaning to the meaning in the movie “Secretariat”, the phrase “Run your race” is important to impart to others.

It says, despite the defeats of life, stick to your plan.

As you develop your leadership skills, and those of others, keep this phrase in mind. Developmentally it says when you hit barriers, take them in stride. Do not get dissuaded or distracted by them. Instead, be fueled by them and continue on the path you’ve chosen.

A few weeks ago, I was challenged by this. I was introduced to a prospective client who was skeptical of the coaching program I recommended. Too many times in this situation, I’ve seen people adapt their recommendations so that they get the business, sacrificing what they believe to be the best course of action in favor of “winning” a client. I didn’t do that.

Instead, I recalled the “Run your race” phrase and recommended that we not work together. She was not prepared for that level of resolve. When she inquired why, I restated the goals she had communicated and said that my plan was the most effective way I knew to achieve them. In my mind, I was sticking to my race, my course. She didn’t have to agree. But I wasn’t going to be detoured.

The result? She backtracked and we mutually agreed on the program agenda.

Had I not been resolute about what I believed was best for her, I might have acquiesced to her agenda, not mine. And then I would have been running a different race. It’s hard to get back on track after that.

In another example, I was recently traveling through Africa. While in the Serengeti, I met a wonderful man who was our camp’s head chef. Upon asking him about his personal journey, he told me that 19 years ago he began working as a gardener in one of the Singita camps. One day he observed a cook cleaning fish for that evening’s dinner. Knowing he didn’t want to garden his whole life, he asked to help clean the fish. That began his culinary journey. He grew in cuisine and is now the head chef of the camp! The courage he showed to engage with the food staff blew me away. I could feel his resolve and determination. He is “running his race” with one published cookbook and another on the way!

Holding/believing in your process/ability to make a difference is as essential as the difference you actually make.