Run Like A Girl - The Race Is In Your Lane

Until high school I'd always been a nerd and not very athletic. Well, in high school I was still a nerd but I was what I like to call a sporty nerd. I really took to track and field and enjoyed it a lot. There was a nice balance of individual and team sport. One of the first lessons I learned was that the only race going on was the race in my lane. Trust me, I learned it the hard way.

I remember running summer track my sophomore year in high school at a meet in Savannah, Georgia to qualify for the national meet. We were all lined up to start the finals of the 100m hurdles. Top three finishers advance to nationals. The race starts and we're all out pretty even over the first 8 hurdles and I'm starting to feel some separation from the girl next to me. As I come off hurdle 9 I know I have a shot of finishing in the top 3. I decide to take a quick glance to my left to see where I was in the pack and it happened...I knocked the 10th and final hurdle over and fell. Needless to say my dreams of nationals were over. For a split second I lost sight of my race to see what was going on around me and I paid for it. There's even a scar on my leg to remind me of it. The race was in my lane and my lane alone. The moment I lost sight of what I was doing is the moment I lost control of my race. Everyone's race strategy is different. Some get out fast, while others get out slow and at the end of it the difference is the time it took us to get to the finish line.

After all these years that lesson has stuck with me. There are those progressing faster than me at life while others haven't caught up. It's ok either way. I realize that my life goes at my pace and there's no reason to panic because someone has a fast start. My race is right here with me not them. I can't live my life at someone else's pace, nor do I want to. The fast starters may peak too soon so there's no need to try to go with them if it's too fast for me. I also have to watch out for the slow starters because if I discount them they can sneak up on me. My pace must be one that I can handle and strategic enough to keep up with the fast starters and hold off the slow ones. I can't panic when someone passes me and ditch my race plan.  The race is in my lane and my lane only.

When it comes to business the concept is the same. Over the years I've done an unofficial survey/observation of women and noticed a difference in those that played sports and those that didn't. The women who played sports don't seem to get caught up in the one-upmanship at the office as much as those that didn't. Watching those with no strategy run in spurts to simply beat someone in that moment instead of thinking about the entire race cracks me up. Admittedly it does get hard at times when your eye is on the prize and you're running your race and others are passing you by to stay focused. In a race you have to be patient and strike at the right time. If you've planned and prepared properly you'll finish the race with the result you want.

When it seems like everyone's race is moving faster than yours remember these three things: trust your race plan, don't panic and be patient. The race you are running is in your lane and no one else's.

Do you find that playing sports has helped you compete as a woman in business?

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