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Slow and Steady Wins the Race

On Thanksgiving morning, our family has held a tradition of running a 4-mile race for the pies - in years prior, my goal has been everything from:

  1. TIME TRACKING: tracking my mile time to beat my previous time 

  2. SPRINT START: starting too strong only to be exhausted 

  3. SURVIVE: simply finishing the race (walk/run) kind of dying

But this year - my goal wasn’t to beat my time, or just finish - but to keep the pace - not to burn all of my energy out at the starting line, not to run/walk, but just to keep running at the same consistent pace all the way through. 

In the first mile or two, I noticed a lot of people passing me (my competitive self did not like it), I was tempted to speed up, but I knew better. I’d been here before, and I knew where that had led me - to exhaustion before the finish line. So, I let the people pass me and continue to pass me. 

I instead focused on:

  1. Looking around - just enjoying the view, the course is pretty, the weather was great, and it's the one time of year the whole community comes together - those who aren’t running are out on their front lawns with chairs enjoying the morning. I could SEE more clearly because I wasn’t so focused on the outcome, but rather just keeping the pace. 

  2. I listened to my music and enjoyed it throughout the race. I listened to the people cheering everybody on and the MC, who is always quite entertaining. I could HEAR because of my pace. 

  3. I focused on staying steady, and connecting to myself and where I was - checking in to make sure I wasn’t speeding up too much to wear myself out.

When I crossed the finish line and saw that my time was 37 something, this surprised me, as I thought it would be closer to 45, because it felt like I was taking my time. It turns out, my time was within 30 seconds of each other for the past 5 years. I couldn’t believe it, I had tried all the ways of running the race: sprinting, the run/walk, just surviving through - and this I thought was my slowest time - because I still had energy left at the finish line - and it was right on pace

As I walked to get my pie, a woman came up to me and said, “I just wanted to let you know that I was following you the whole race, you were always right in front of me and my goal was just to keep pace with you.” I realized that while I had only intended to be steady for myself, I had been steady for someone else. 

I felt grateful that she shared that with me, and I got to thinking about this concept and how it applies to our businesses and communities - let’s be those who:

SEE - LOOK AROUND - with a steady pace, you have time to look around and see who you want to encourage and mentor. You SEE more clearly. 

HEAR - LISTEN TO THE MUSIC - notice those around you, listen to those who are eager for counsel and mentorship and reach back to help those to come. 

KNOW - KNOW YOURSELF AND OTHERS - when you KNOW those around you, and yourself, you can see how different people and organizations can work together to collaborate, inspiring innovation and appreciating connection.

This story has three concepts that have changed my life personally, and I know that our Athena award winners practice them too. It’s the practice of seeing, hearing, and knowing others and ourselves. It impacts how we “run our race” and this simple practice can change communities, businesses, and lives.

The wonderful thing about the concept of seeing, hearing, and knowing others is that no one is excluded - this is possible and attainable for ALL. So, as you read this, I want to challenge you to be those who set the steady pace in your community. Seek to see, know, and hear the people around you, and experience the fullness of a truly connected community and marketplace.

Snail on race track


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