The Only Race You Run Is The Race Against Yourself.

Follow Secretariat's Lead

In 1973 Secretariat was chasing the final leg of the Triple Crown preparing for the Belmont stakes in New York.  (Please click on the link to watch this race—it’s worth your time.)  People came from all over to get a glimpse of this incredible animal running with power and speed during his workout in the days before the race.  Most every horse owner during this era knew their horse had no chance of winning against probably the most magnificent racehorse ever--- which is why the Belmont had only four other horses in the race; one of the smallest fields in race history.  The Belmont and the Triple Crown was Secretariat’s for the taking—nothing could stop him, and Secretariat loved all the attention he was receiving.    

Secretariat was huge, more prominent than every racehorse, possessing a heart that was abnormally large, weighing a reported 22 pounds.  That large heart gave him a competitive drive that even his jockey Ron Turcotte learned to appreciate.  Turcotte in the first two races; the Derby and Preakness—learned about Secretariat’s running style on the fly which caused him to make minor mistakes, mistakes that Secretariat quickly overcame to win both races.  For the Belmont, Turcotte knew what to do, let Secretariat run, no whip, no tight reins, just let him go hard.  Secretariat was driven to excel at the highest level—and he did, setting a Belmont record.  The time for the race was not only a record, but it was also the fastest ​1 1⁄2 miles on dirt in history, 2:24 flat.  Charles Hatton racing columnist for the New York Times, wrote after the race, “His only point of reference is himself.”

Each morning when you awaken, you are racing against the competition coming from other coaches, other teams, and most of all yourself.  Some days you need tight reins, (positive re-enforcement) some days you need whips (negative comments in the paper) and different motivations to keep you moving.  These various remedies cause you to have inconsistencies within your work—today was good, tomorrow not so good—all based on what you read or hear.  Relying on outside forces can cause inconsistent performance with your work. 

How can Secretariat help you become a better coach/leader today?  Take his approach: Just run as hard and as fast as you can. You don’t need the whips or reins. 

Today and every day moving forward become Secretariat.  Don’t worry about the competition, don’t think of the others in the race, do your very best.  The only race you run is the race against yourself.   There is no magic pill to take. Nothing can help you become a better coach than actually doing the work and bringing an enthusiastic approach to your work. 

Becoming the best lies within you—you can control your race—work hard, focus, totally concentrate, waste no time, don’t worry about what others are doing or saying, keep running fast—and ALWAYS become your only point of reference… as Secretariat did. 

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