aturday December 8th 2018, 6:30 am EAT. I am at the Mandela National Stadium answering a call by a great guy who challenged me to run with him 25 laps around the track. I had never done this before all my life. As a matter of fact, this was my first time ever in that stadium and yet I have been in the country for close to 10 years!
I celebrated that fete by noting in my mind, “You know, I have never been here before, but it is interesting that the first day inside this stadium, I am not coming to spectate. I am coming here to prepare and deploy myself”. When that thought crossed my mind, I nodded to myself saying, “That will preach!”
You see, as a content junkie, we always look for ways to generate inspirational and educational information. That morning, I did not have a clue that I would be writing this article, but here I am. So when Daniel Choudry challenged me and I made it there, I did not know what to expect. I knew of course that he is a veteran. I have heard him say that he runs every weekend about 20 Km with his friend Amos Wekesa, So I definitely knew that I would be second best.
Of course after five or six laps or so going in tandem, Daniel shouted, “Run your race”, and veered off nonchalantly, leaving me huffing and puffing to catch up. After about ten laps or so, he was overtaking me. The message was the same, “Run Your Race!” I got the point. I finished my race that day behind the man but I felt good. The following are some of the lessons I learnt.
1. The Parable Of Talents
Jesus gave a very powerful parable when he was talking about investments. He said that three people were given talents according to their abilities. We are all unique. Not any one of us has the same mandate as the next person. We might be in the same pursuit, but the mandate differs. It differs in the following ways:
- Through Our Unique Gifting: To run your race, you cannot copy someone else’s gifting or talent. Use yours and be content in developing it. If anything, we ought to be the champions of our own races. Nothing is useless on earth as being mediocre in your own gift and talent.
- Through our preparation: Most definitely, Daniel has been preparing himself. He has been so good that he has become a coach of sorts in physical fitness, among other things that he is doing (including running a Sales Institute, the first of its kind in the country)
- Overcome Two Forces:
Life is a race. We all have our own races to run our own races. The first hurdle we have to overcome is the decision to participate in the race of life. When Daniel challenged me, I readily accepted. However, as the days drew near, I started looking for excuses. All of a sudden, there was one. A men’s meeting was happening at church, so I called Daniel. Before I could explain myself or even salute him, he shouted on the phone, “We are still on tomorrow at 7:00 am”. I smiled at myself and shouted back, “Ok, make it 6:30”.
The second force that you have to overcome is the force of mediocrity even in running your own race. One of the things that you must keep asking yourself is this: Is this me giving my absolute best? Am I stretching myself to the hilt? Can I be proud of this input? You see, it is one thing to show up…but it is another thing to make the showing up count. Abraham Lincoln said it best, “In the end, it is not the number of years in our life that count but the life in our years that does”.
3. Growth is in A Coach’s Urge
So Daniel was through with his laps as I was grinding mine. He started stretching himself as he waited for me. Then wen I got to where he was, he joined me and urged me to finish my race. He ran alongside me but the said something else. “This is the last lap, give it your championship best”. I must confess that I was spent by then. But having him beside me encouraged me to up the ante, something that he promptly appreciated. I can assure you that if he wasn’t there, I would not have stretched myself. That is the importance of mentors and coaches in our lives. Get one in the area of growth that you need in your life.
4. Consistency and Preparation are Paramount
Just because you have your own race does not mean that you are not accountable to the world. You are. Knowing that you are running your own race ought to put pressure on you to perform the best. You know what? Every time you run, you are preparing yourself to get even better. Daniel told me that he started by taking over 30 minutes in clearing the laps. He does it daily. Now he takes less time than that. It is the consistency that makes you good in the race you have been given to run. So how consistent are you with your runs?
You and I have our own races to run. That is why I will not compare myself with someone else, but I will choose to benchmark myself with others. I must be the champion at my own races. I invite you to do the same.