Dr. Rich Patterson

Run Your Own Race

Life is a bit of a marathon.  We are constantly adjusting, dodging, trying to understand, solving problems for ourselves and others, on and on.  As we work our way through these challenges, it is easy to get side-tracked, to think, I should be more like this or that.  But each of us has a unique perspective, our own DNA fingerprint to leave on this earth.  Yours is like no other, there is not duplication or similarity to another, it is yours to leave and make a different.

Think of it as clouds moving in the sky.  They are constantly in motion, bumping into other clouds, making changes, merging and flexible.  So it is with us, we are always in constant calibration.  You are never there, you never reach the state where you can say, ‘OK, now I can just cruise everything is perfect.’  There isn’t any such state because we’re always interacting with others and we need to stay flexible, to help them to understand, to be willing to merge ideas and come up with something new.  We need to be ready to take a different path to get to where we want to be if needed.

You don’t hear the clouds saying, “Hey, get out of my way!”  or “I don’t want to merge with you.”  They simply bump into each other, overlap at times and continue on their way.  So it is with us, we are always trying to adjust our focus, adjusting our course–but keeping our focus on the main thing.  Stephen R. Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, says, “The main thing, is to keep the main thing, the main thing.”  I worked for a superintendent of schools who used to say that a lot.  I like that because it reminds me that despite distractions, side-tracks, changes, arguments, disagreements, and anything else that can lead us astray, we’re headed to our goal, to the main thing.

I want to encourage you today to run your own race.  Acknowledge the distractions as necessary, but don’t give them any more attention than they deserve, which may well be no attention at all.  As you work with this concept, think about the clouds, how flexible they are, and how they are always adjusting.  Do that for yourself, but keep moving toward your goal while running your own race.