In this blog post I encourage you to run your own race. Or in other words, pursue your own journey.
In 2016 Girish Amanapu, a human resources professional, shared a story on Linkedin. The story is about an elephant and a dog who got pregnant at the same time and had this conversation about their pregnancy.
Three months in the dog had six puppies. The elephant had none. Six months after the dog had those six puppies, the dog got pregnant again. Three months later, the dog has a dozen puppies. And the elephant is still pregnant.
About 16 months later, the dog approaches the elephant and says, “We got pregnant together the same time. Right? I’ve given birth three times to a dozen puppies. They’re now grown. And you are still pregnant. What’s going on with you?”
The elephant took his time, and then responded.
“I understand that what I’m carrying is not a puppy. It’s a mighty and great elephant. While you have several dozen puppies in a year, It takes me two years to produce one baby elephant. But when this elephant is born, it shakes the ground. Humans pause to admire the magnitude of it. I need more time. To produce an elephant, a baby, then you need to produce puppies.”
I thought this story was so powerful. I wanted to share it you because there are so many times when we are on our leadership journey and we are not getting the results that we see other people getting. It seems like they are winning and getting results while we are on this journey — growing, learning, working — but not seeing the results. May was my birthday. When it comes to my birthday, I take time to reflect on a new year. My birthday is a new year for me, but it also comes shortly before the midway point of the calendar year. So my birthday helps me to pause and think about how am I doing on the goals that I set for myself at the beginning of the year.
And so I want to encourage you today. If you are on your journey and other people are having the results, perhaps the result that you are working towards is more like a giant elephant baby than a puppy. Perhaps we need to stop comparing our journey. Perhaps we need to be more like the elephant recognizing that we shouldn’t be comparing what we are working on, what we’re trying to produce. We define the race that we are running.
So I want to leave you seven tips to help you run your own race, and not compare your pace, your progress, your results, to those around you. Anthony Robbins says that with goals, we can create our future in advance and certainly we want to be the architects of our future. And so this makes sense that goals are so important to us. In one of the episodes, someone shared a comment with me and said, I don’t actually set goals. I just developed new habits. And I had an opportunity to communicate and said, there are many types of goals and habits fit under the category of “process goals.”
1. Define the race you want to run based on who you are.
Know what the race you are running is. When I talk about a race I am not necessarily talking about something that moves fast. I mean that pathway, that journey, that focus that you are going to take in your life. Just make sure you are defining one that is right for you based on who you are. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else. Focus on what you are carrying and what is required to carry it.
2. Make sure to take time to understand the value of your own race: the quality results and outcomes that you are working on producing.
Know the difference between puppies and a baby elephant. Do you need to make many puppies or are you working on an elephant baby? Make sure you know the value of the goal you are pursuing. A dog may come to you bragging about their achievements. If you don’t know the value of your goal you will not be able to answer with the rationale and mindset that the elephant did. You must be able to say “I am working on something bigger and this is going to take time, but I know the value of what I am working on. It may not be the same as yours but I don’t need to produce as many puppies as you do. I’m focusing on one big elephant baby.
3. Know who you are and know the nature of your skills, your goals, your method of work.
Know the pace at which you are capable of pursuing your goals. Stop and pause and make sure you have a good understanding of who you are when you are on this kind of journey. Everybody will run past you and you might feel the need to sprint at the wrong time. Remember who you are, remember the value of your goals, and remember you are running your own race.
4. Run the race.
It’s important that we don’t just conceptualize the race, but that we are actually on the field running the race. We need to do the activities. Hone the habits. Do what needs to be done to improve continuously. One reminder that I continuously use is a question I saw many years ago, “What am I doing today that is helping me be better tomorrow.” Run your own race. Put in the effort. Get up and do the boring things that matter. Get up and challenge yourself everyday. Simple things like the time you’re waking up, the time you go to bed. Whether we put aside fifteen minutes to think of what we can do to get better at our craft.
5. Don’t compare yourself to others. There are so many people out there who will want you to feel like you’re in a competition with them. When we’re talking about a race we’re not talking about a competition with others. We’re talking about a clearly defined journey for yourself. You’re competing against your best time, your own performance, your own capabilities. That’s what you’re working on.
6. Obstacles will come. Distractions will come. Spectators watching you perform will make a lot of noise. As Brene Brown says, “Don’t get distracted by the people in the stands. You are in the game. You are running your race. Keep at it. It’s not enough to set the destination, it’s not enough to plan the race. It’s not enough to have the mindset. You need to stay in it. It will get tough, life will throw curveballs. Whatever the curveball, stay the course. Pause, mourn, revise, refresh. But keep coming back. You have your course. Stay the course.”
7.Look at and be aware of the field you are running against. Only to keep you motivated. Only to remind you that when you sit it out, the race will run. When you stop, the race will run. You are not the only one that can do this job, but you have to commit to doing it. Otherwise, someone else will. It is so important that you run your race, make your own impact, provide your insights. You learn through this rugged journey who you are. Understand what kind of race you are running. Are you here to produce puppies or elephants? Are you running the race nurturing a baby every two years, or a dozen every year. It is important to run the race that you are running and ignore the noise that others are making. Stay true to you, your goals, your journey and the value of what you can uniquely produce. All the best on your race.
Thank you so much for following us. See you next week, same time, same place.
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