As men, we often compare ourselves with other men. We compare ourselves in just about everything (athleticism, height, salary, dress, business successes, the cars we own, the house we live in, the jobs we work, our kids, our wife, our reputation, our influence, our vacations and the list goes on and on and on. Why do we compare ourselves to other men?
When we compare our life to other men, we take your eyes off of what we need to be doing for ourselves. The success you seek isn’t going to come from looking at others and trying to be like them, but it will come from you recognizing who you are and what you alone have to offer. You see, you and I are born with natural gifts and talents. These gifts and talents are uniquely stamped in our DNA. They were given to you from God and they were given to you to be used. As a matter of fact, the talent you have is not meant to only be enjoyable by you, but also to be enjoyable by others. No gift or talent you have was ever meant to be hidden or selfishly used.
Listen, each of us has a story to tell. Our stories serve as the link of our past towards our future. Our stories serve as the fuel and potential of our greatest impact to influence those around us. If I had to sum up my life’s story (at this point and time of my life), I would have say it feels and looks much like a race. A running race.
You cannot run the race of life with someone else’s gift, ability or calling. Comparing yourself with others causes you to put that person on a pedestal and if you’re not careful, they eventually become your idol. No man should be your idol. Your focus should be God and what He has planned for your life. When you focus on God being your everything, He will make it known to you what you should be doing and will give you the resources and provision to accomplish it.
Many men run life’s race without a strategy or goals to attain what they want. They simply run here and there without structure or a plan of action to accomplish what they want out of life. Some men have all the talent & natural ability in the world but lack self-confidence to break through the limits of negative thinking. Others run life’s race is if they are on autopilot. They have low expectations and do not expect much from themselves, therefore, handing over their rights and authority to someone else who will ultimately abuse them. And let’s not forget about men who are running someone else’s race. These are men who are living life for the sole objective of gaining approval from mom or dad, brother or sister, friends or co-workers. Their identity is wrapped up in what other people think about them. They lack self worth and look upon themselves with no-value. Lastly, there are individuals who have committed themselves to run with passion, with a clear sense of purpose and a road map to accomplish their goals.
So my question to you is: Whose race are you running?
I believe we must run the race to win and obviously I believe we must run our own race. Running your race has to do with an attitude of winning and serves as the framework for your success. As a high school, collegiate and semi-professional runner for many years, I have learned a few truths about running and how it relates to life. I encourage you to share in this experience with me as I’m confident your experiences may be similar. My goal is to give you a glimpse of what it takes to run your life’s race with success and fulfillment.
First of all, you must stay in your lane If you have ever watched the 100meter, 200meter or 400meter races in track and field or the Olympics, you may have noticed that there are lanes assigned to each runner. Each lane is defined by white lines that are equally distributed from left to right. The lane you are in represents the area that only you are allowed to run within. If you step outside your lane, you are disqualified and are no longer able to compete or complete the race. So how does this relate to you? Your lane represents the path and journey to your finish line. It represents your future and fulfillment of your purpose. The runner (which is you) represents your gifts and your talents. Only you can run the race according to what you have been given and if you step out or into someone else’s lane, you will be disqualified because you cannot reach the finish line using their gifts or talents. Each man has his own experience – his own challenges – his own path, his own story that he must create. In other words, the greatest achievement you will have in your life is when you begin to utilize your God given gifts and abilities and to perform according to what you have set your own mind to do.
You cannot win your race with someone else’s gift or ability. Don’t look at your competition. Don’t compare yourself with others. When running, the goal is not so much that you are trying to beat the other runners, but you are trying to reach the finish line first. There is a difference! When running a race according to your strategy, you recognize that your efforts and energies should not be determined by what other men are doing. Running your race is absolutely critical to your success. Have you ever seen a race where a runner gains the lead quickly and shortly after begins to fade back towards the end of the pack? Well, that happens for many reasons. This runner is so excited about running the race and competing with others that their initial strategy of running smart has been thrown out the window. These types of runners are like loose cannons. Their intentions may be good, but their execution is poor. They run too hard and expend energy at the beginning of the race and because their training or lack thereof is shallow, they are unable to sustain their speed.
The race of life should not be about competing with your fellow man, but with yourself. Too many times we compete with other men trying to do what they do or get what they have. Once you try to run their race, you will end up in total destruction. You will fail! I have seen too many men; including myself at times, trying to be like someone else. Trying to be like someone else does two things really well.
1.Unknowingly, it causes you to forfeit your dreams because you are so focused on becoming someone else. You’ve put someone or something up on a pedestal and have made them your idol, your God, and measuring stick for success. That’s a wrong move.
2.It causes you to disregard, devalue, and not look within your own gifts and talents. This too is a wrong move. So many men look at what they don’t have that they miss out on opportunities that are available to them for which their own uniqueness fits like a hand in glove.
There are times in our life where we need to go for it and make something happen. Have no regrets. I call this a surge. The surge that I’m referring to is when you’ve made up your mind that you are going to run your race with a strategy. It’s about making a committed decision and taking the initiative. Your surge could be as simple as purchasing your first book in order to educate yourself on a certain business franchise or a “how-to” book that will guide you in starting your own business. It could be a phone call to your spouse saying I’m sorry and that I forgive you that will lead to reconciliation in your marriage. It could also be something as simple as recognizing within yourself that you are not living to your full potential due to fear or anxiety and you are now willing to step out of the boat to live the life you’ve always wanted. Whatever it may be, a surge is a good thing. Your surge may just be the spark you need to get back on your path and fulfill your life’s purpose.
It’s also important that we believe in ourselves. No person can truly run the race to win unless they believe they can. Winning does not happen by accident. As mentioned above, running the race of life has nothing to do with others, but everything to do with you. Once you master who you are, where you are going and how you are going to get there, the chances of you succeeding are very high. Your success begins and ends with you. When pursuing a goal, (whatever it may be) it requires that you become a self-motivated individual. Self motivation cannot be taught. It must be birthed out of a passion. Self motivators don’t need much of anything to get them excited about pursuing their goal and taking action. They simply are that way because the desire of achieving outweighs the thought or results of failure.
Believing in yourself requires that you stay focused on the task at hand, but it also requires that you focus on your strengths. We are all born with different gifts and talents and it’s much easier to accomplish the goals we set for ourselves when we operate within our natural abilities. Finding success in what you do well will naturally breed confidence in you. It is this confidence that catapults you to another level of appreciation and success.
Believing in yourself is about attitude. Attitude is like a muscle. It needs to be developed over and over again, and there is always room for growth. Your attitude determines your altitude. Believing in yourself is about perspective. Individuals who believe in themselves are a different kind of breed. A believer’s perspective is about self-confidence and making the decision that they want the best for themselves. They’ve put aside the negative talk, negative thinking, and their lackluster environment and instead surround themselves with other man who are like-minded and are willing to share in their experience.
I encourage you to stay in your lane, do not compare yourself with other men, be prepared to make a surge and have confidence in yourself. Do these things and be sure to know that your life’s race will carry you to the finish line with winning and amazing results.