February 15

My oldest son was a competitive distance runner in high school. In nearly every race, he would start out near the middle-front of the pack, and it would appear that he was in danger of being left behind by the leaders. Then, slowly, those in front would begin to fade, and some of the stronger runners—who only moments before appeared to be losing—would move to the front of the pack. Often, someone like my son, who seemed destined for a middle-placed finish, would end up winning.

The reason for this is that some less-experienced runners would jolt off the starting line and try to keep up with whoever was in the lead. However, the more experienced runners knew their own best pace and understood how to run a good race. They realized from practical experience that if they just followed the strategy, they would end up just fine.

Every one of us needs to run our own race. You can’t compare your productivity or career progress or degree of recognition to the person next to you. That’s a never-ending game. The great runner Carl Lewis once said, “I tell myself: ‘Get out of the blocks, run your race, stay relaxed. If you run your race, you’ll win.’” Be focused on your work, your calling, your career, and the body of work that you are building.

Run your own race.

Where and when do you tend to most compare your race to someone else’s?

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