Running the Foot Race

foot raceI spent some time with a client this morning and the organization’s leader used an analogy during his comments at an all employee meeting that resonated quite strongly with the group.

He compared living our lives to running a foot race.

Certainly this sounds familiar; “it’s a marathon, not a sprint” has, of course, become another business cliche. Yet this morning’s topic veered into some territory that spoke to more than just a personal approach to getting stuff done. Among the things he pointed out:

  • When you’re running life’s foot race you’ll encounter obstacles (hills, pebbles, holes or any number of things) that may cause you to trip or fall
  • Don’t let the foot race get you weary; this takes training and building up your stamina
  • If you notice a fellow runner falter or stumble, your role is to provide assistance and pick him/her up
  • If you successfully run the foot race you can then learn to “run with the horses”

This was not a rah-rah “let’s all get to work and hit the next big target” pep session. Rather it was a reminder to everyone in attendance that the challenges encountered in life’s foot race are not insurmountable. Employees bring their personal lives to work with them every day; they don’t stop running the race just because they’ve walked through the office door.  And that’s…. OK. That’s human.

“Don’t sweat the small stuff” he reminded everyone. “Support each other in your individual foot races and then together we can run with the horses.”






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