“Let him run Ronnie, let him run!" It’s 1973 and history is being made. A horse has captured the hearts and minds of America as the nation is glued to its TV’s to see if they have another Triple Crown winner. The horse of course, is Secretariat.
The story of this famous racehorse is the subject of a recent book and film. As I watched the film, I remembered that spring; it was the spring before I graduated from high school and I remember standing in front of our TV watching the Preakness, Baltimore’s contribution to the Triple Crown. It was the race that brought the major network cameras to Baltimore – and I wondered what all the fuss was about. I soon found out that this horse had won the Kentucky Derby and if he won the Preakness he would be two thirds of the way to doing what no other horse had done since 1948, winning the Triple Crown.
He did indeed win the Preakness. Two weeks later, my friends and I, like so many other Americans, gathered around the TV for the chance to see a Triple Crown winner. The Belmont is the toughest of the three races at 1 1/2 miles. Secretariat was a horse whose breading indicated that he could only succeed in short races and even though he had won both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness there was much speculation that he wouldn’t be able to last in the Belmont. His racing history showed that he was a horse that started every race slowly and came from behind to win. The question that lay strongly on the minds of all was, “Would he be able to repeat that strategy in the Belmont?” The traditional thinking was that he should follow the strategy that he’d always used; save his energy and take his shot at winning toward the end of the race. The traditional thinking was wrong.
Secretariat took off out of the gate, ahead of the pack and stayed there for the entire race. He won by 31 lengths, which not only gave him his fastest time, but also a record that has not been broken since. Most of the people in the stands were in shock that the horse had broken out so quickly and were sure he was doomed to lose. The person with the most to lose – and gain, his owner Penny Chenery, had a different perspective. Her father had passed on to her his guiding philosophy when he told her; “I’ve run my race, now it’s time for you to run yours.” It was with that guiding philosophy that she yelled to her jockey the words at the beginning of this essay. "Let him run Ronnie, let him run." In other words, He knows who he is, now let him be it!
Secretariat was a racehorse and – to steal a phrase from another great runner, – "when he ran he felt His pleasure."
Two simple questions.
1) What makes you want to "run fast?" What about who you are – how you’re hard wired – makes you feel completely energized?
2) As a leader, how do you get your fast horses to run faster?
We feel His pleasure when we live out of our Core Motivator. That is, when we are being the most of who we are, then we are the most energized. But it’s not that simple. I am seeing more and more people who knowing their Core Motivator are still not living fully out of who they are. Our greatest energy comes from living out of our Core Motivator yet most of us- even those of us who know our Core Motivator – aren’t living fully out of who we are. Take a look at your day-to-day activities and ask the question, "Am I living out of who I am?"
“But I’m not Secretariat.” That is the most common response I receive during the discussions about Vision For Your Life. There is the looming question, “What if I’m not a fast horse at anything? What do I do?” It’s a good question, but it has a bad presupposition. It presupposes that some of us are made to be great and some of us are not. The right question is "what am I created to be great at?" The answer, of course, is you were created to be great at being YOU!
When I see people who are not running fast in life- people who are not energized by their every day existence - I see people who have not matched who they are with what they do. They are trying to fit the proverbial round peg into a square hole.
I meet with people all the time who are trying to do a job that is incongruent with who they are. It’s the Relationship Core Motivator who is sitting in a cubical doing financial analysis, or the Perfecting Core Motivator who is trying to do relational selling. It’s not that they can’t do it, but rather that they are not the fast horses in that arena and they are not feeling His pleasure. Their life is not congruent, because what they do is not aligned with who they are. They have worked very hard to be proficient – maybe even very good – at what they do, but they will never be a fast horse.
This then begs two more questions. First, are you running in the right race? Secretariat should not have been running in trot races or plowing fields. He ran in the races that were right for him. If you’re not a sprinter then don’t run a sprint race. If you’re not built for long distances then don’t run a marathon. Is your career the right “race” for who you are?
Second, if you are running in the right race, are you running your race? Every runner knows they must stay inside themselves and run their race. They must run the race they were built to run, and not try to run the way someone else runs. You can’t run someone else’s race; you must run your race. If you’re a front-runner then don’t hold back. If you’re more patient, then don’t get out in front too fast. You must run your race. So if you are a Creating Core Motivator in a sales role then you must sell by Creating. If you are a Serving Core Motivator in a creative role then you must create by serving. You must run your race.
In other words, you must know who you are and be it.
Next issue: Question #2 – As a leader what are you doing with your fast horses?