Run your own race at work

Career opportunities. Office armchair with rocketsAs curious and often outwardly-focussed women, if we’re not careful, we can all waste tons of time and energy concentrating on what everyone else is up to and forget to focus on our own path.  Run our own race. At this time of year particularly. Reviews. Personal Development Plans. Bonus discussions. All out on the table right about now.

Are you running your own race or concentrating on everyone else’s?

I’ve noticed 8 clear success strategies which come into play each time I watch a big sports event and the competitors all refer to these things in one way or another.   I realise they’re success strategies which also come in to play for us every single day in business, as in our lives.

1. Commit

Make a decision to do something, to be someone, to have something and commit to it.  No doubt, no waivering, no ‘faffing’. The stories of athletes moving countries away from their families to get the best training or support.  Making that level of commitment separates you from people who ‘would like to’ rather commit to.   What are you 100% committed to and how does it separate you from the ‘well, I’d quite like to’ players?

2. Prepare

The training, the lifestyle, the self-care, the mental game. I heard someone say they had run the race in their head so many times so when it came to it and came to winning he felt he already had.  In your career, to prepare, think through the angles, know your stuff, well it makes you able to be ‘loose’. What are you preparing for and how are you running through it in advance, again and again so you can be ‘loose’ too?

3. Respect 

Your competition and get to know them.  Keep an eye and an ear on what other people are doing and respect them for it. There always seemed to be a healthy regard and respect for the competing athletes.  In business, the same attitude helps. In reality no one has the same skills, the same experience, the same story as you. Rather than try to be a clone of someone else, be you and bring your own personality and pizzazz to everything you do and it will always make you special. No one else can do it like you.  What do you know makes you special and different and how could you allow yourself to stand out more for it? 

4. Support 

Take the advice and know-how of people who can see your game as you’re playing it.   Every athlete always cited their coach and mentor in their thanks because they see things you simply couldn’t. I know this to my toes in my business and bring this to my clients in theirs. Who supports you and gives you guidance and input whilst flying your flag with you? 

5. Believe

Or go home!  If you don’t believe in yourself, how can you expect anyone else to?  Standing sure and firm in your belief in yourself isn’t about showing off and being like a peacock, it’s about self-certainty. You know you can’t control what anyone else does, says or how they play the game. What about you – what are you standing sure and firm in yourself about?

6. Extra

That extra 10% you don’t think you have.  When you need it, you do have it.  Athletes have that extra push, that final “I just went for it” energy that somehow we have when we call it up.  .  When you think of something you achieved because you found that extra 10% from somewhere, what difference did it make for you? 

7. Celebrate

It’s a true part of the process in whatever you’re setting out to achieve to allow yourself – and anyone else involved – time to celebrate and acknowledge what’s been achieved.  Too often it’s straight on to the next challenge.   What’s something coming up for you which you’ll prepare to do your ‘happy dance’ about?

8. Run 

Your own race.  I heard this phrase so often.  Rather than be pushed or mind-gamed by other athletes, the press, the crowd, you stick to your plan because it is your own race.  No one else has the same cards to play with as you and no one else wants the same things as you, they’re not you.  It’s obvious and it’s easy to forget.  Whose race are you running and what’s it really about for you?

I believe Baz Luhrmann, the film director hits it squarely on the nose. It’s as true for you as a career women as it is for an Olympian athlete.

“Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind.  The race is long, but in the end it’s only with yourself.”

About the author

Kay White is our Show Up & Sparkle blogger. Known as the Savvy & Influential Communication Expert for Ambitious Women in Business, Kay shows professional women how to attract promotion, recognition and rewards at work without feeling they have to ’sell their soul. Kay shows her clients, who are corporate career women at all different stages of their careers, how to naturally attract more income and opportunity all while being true to themselves. Combining strategic moves with influencing skills plus compelling and assertive language and powerful mindsets, Kay draws on her own 20+ years corporate career in the very male-dominated world of London insurance broking. She started at 18 as a Secretary and left as a Director to start her own business. Hosting an annual 3-day Event for corporate women “Show Up; Sparkle & Be Heard LIVE” Kay encourages and shows women how to be the best, most valuable version of themselves. Kay is author of the Number 1 Best-Seller “The A to Z of Being Understood” and you can connect and find out more from Kay at :

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