“And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer, and perfecter of faith.” Hebrews 12: 1-2
A famous Olympian, Eric Liddell, won the Gold medal for the 400-meter race in 1924. He is well known for his refusal to run in the selection round of the 100-meter race as it was on the Sabbath. Later, a movie about his life, “Chariots of Fire,” won the Academy Award for Best Picture. He once said, “If you commit yourself to the love of Christ, then that is how you run a straight race.”
Whether running in the Olympics or running a business, making Jesus the center of our lives will keep us on the straight path that honors God and blesses others. In both instances, we can take specific wise steps. Summarized below are the first five of these ways to be a Gold Medal Business Owner, which I shared last Monday. Which ones were you able to review this past week?
Have a specific goal: “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and He will establish your plans.” (Proverbs 16:3)
Choose your coach carefully: “And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8)
Have a good support team: “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” (Proverbs 15:22)
Do your best: “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)
Stay positive and not lose heart: “But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.” (2 Chronicles 15:7)
Becoming a Gold Medal Winner does not happen overnight, and neither does becoming a successful business owner. It takes time, practice, work, sacrifice, and dedication, as well as a wise strategy.
Here are five more ways to train for, and run, your race at work:
1. Know you will sometimes get hurt. Get treatment. Physiotherapists treat people who have suffered a sports injury. For different reasons, people may delay seeking treatment. Often, the longer it takes before an injury to treatment, the longer it takes to recover. Olympic athletes realize they need to receive treatment promptly. Sometimes, in business, we have setbacks, become discouraged, or suffer from harmful untruths. We need to deal with them, learn from them, and move on. The longer it takes to realize that, the more emotionally, mentally, and physically drained we can become. Are you dealing with a hurtful situation? Take time to pray and get help to overcome it.
“The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18)
2. Know you will sometimes lose: don’t give up. Olympic athletes do not win every race. Win or lose; they will review what they could have done differently and apply what they have learned to run a better race next time. The Olympic divers went to the t.v. screen to watch their dive to readily see what went well and did not go well. They will also take that information to their next dive.
Have you experienced a loss at work? Determine what did not go well. Ask yourself the “5 Whys” and determine the real root of the problem. Were you not adequately prepared, lacking a skill, or emotionally or physically drained? Review what you could have done differently and apply it to the next time. God wants us to run our race with perseverance and lean on Him as we get up and run again.
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:7)
3. Communicate well. Some sports at the Olympics require excellence in team communication. Relay races at the crucial moment they pass the baton, the set up for a soccer goal, or calling for the ball in a volleyball game are great examples. Without good communication, information is not shared, goals are not reached, or someone may “drop the ball.” When I look back on problems or tense situations at the clinic, I see they are often due to miscommunication. Information was not received on time, people did not have all the information they needed about a project, or people did not fully understand “who was responsible for what.” Excellence in communication is at the core of an efficiently managed business and facilitates a calm, enjoyable and productive atmosphere. What policies have you put in place to ensure everyone is adequately informed?
“Righteous lips are the delight of a king, and he loves the one who speaks what is right.” (Proverbs 16:13)
4. Take a break: Olympic athletes work very hard to develop their muscles and their technique. However, they cannot always be training as their muscles need time to recover and repair. Business owners often work so hard in their businesses that they neglect to take adequate breaks. They may work from “dusk to dawn” as they think about their business, create programs, deal with setbacks, and meet others. We may not think we need a break, but we do. As an athlete will experience negative symptoms if they over-train, a business owner will experience adverse symptoms such as stress, fatigue, and irritability if they do not take adequate breaks. Are you taken mental and physical breaks from work? If not, make sure you start incorporating “recovery time” in your schedule.
“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11: 28-30)
5. Support others in their race. Celebrate wins. When watching the 2021 Olympics, it was beautiful to see teammates encouraging and supporting each other, excited when their teammates were successful and sharing in their joy. Do you do the same thing in your workplace? Always look for opportunities to celebrate at work. It could be celebrating every person who has been with you for 20 years, the completion of a significant project, the birth of a child, or personal success. Don’t miss out on any opportunities to celebrate wins and memorable moments. Be creative!
“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing .” (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
Sydney McLaughlin, winner of the gold medal in the 400-meter hurdles in the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo, said, “Records come and go, the glory of God is eternal.” She also said, “I no longer run for self-recognition, but to reflect His perfect will that is already set in stone. I don’t deserve anything. But by grace, through faith, Jesus has given me everything.”