Have you ever gone on a run with someone for the first time? Usually it’s a bit awkward. Each person has a unique “pace”, a certain speed at which they run.
It’s HIGHLY unlikely that you find someone that runs your “exact” pace (down to the second), which means you will either need to pick up your pace or slow it down to stay together.
I think this is a profound principle and applies not only in running but also in life. The people you surround yourself with can either cause you to pick up or slow down your pace.
Luckily for me, I was blessed to be born into an amazing family. There are 5 boys, and I’m the youngest of the 5. When I was young, all my brothers were bigger, faster, and stronger than me, and that meant I needed to pick up my pace if I wanted to keep up (and avoid being completely worked over).
But on a deeper level, being the youngest also meant that I had giant role models to look up to. For most of my life, there has been a well-trodden trail of success in all aspects of life to follow.
3 of my brothers played football at the same high-school and they each wore #7. None of them made it to the NFL (to each of their dismay), but they all were terrific athletes, and moreover, they were terrific athletes that had integrity. That was probably their most lasting legacy.
When it was my turn to slip on the jersey, I knew that I wanted to excel on the field. But I also knew that wearing #7 meant more than just scoring touchdowns. It meant standing up for my beliefs, even when it wasn’t popular.
I was far from perfect and had my fair share of challenges, but I truly believe my brothers’ examples lifted me to new heights both on and off the field.
Now that the glory days are over (but still live and well at family meet ups!), our focus has shifted to starting families and starting businesses. Each brother has their own family, and each brother has also started their own business.
They each continue to inspire me and help me become a better entrepreneur, husband, and father (I’ve got a lot of catching up to do!).
Learning on the Court
My wife also comes from a family of 5, however she’s the only girl. This meant that her youth was spent competing toe to toe with her four brothers in basketball, ping pong, and some strange, violent game called “lamb-chop” (think of it as American Gladiators).
Her brothers were all fairly athletic, so she really did need to pick up her pace in order to keep up with them. I believe that’s part of the reason she became a stand-out basketball player and earned all-region honors and a college scholarship in basketball.
If you’ve heard of Jimmer Fredette, you might recollect his experience of playing pickup games with convicts in the prison.
This principle obviously applies to much more than just sports, but the pattern is clear–spend time with others faster, stronger, or otherwise further ahead than you and you will adjust to their pace.
Slowing Down Your Pace
We all know the value in surrounding ourselves with high-achievers and people that motivate us to be better. But is there ever a reason to slow down your pace? I absolutely think so…
If any of us have achieved a certain degree of success, chances are someone helped us along the way. If that’s true, then we ought to pay it forward and make time to mentor the next generation.
What did the Savior do? He spent his time with the poor, the hungry, and the sinners. Clearly he was above all, and yet he ministered to the “least” of them.
Embrace the Challenge
Going back to the running metaphor, if you have run with someone faster than you, how was it? Was it a comfortable experience?
Chances are you resisted it at first you probably didn’t enjoy it because your lungs and legs burned more than they usually do. But we all know what happens after applying consistent effort. Miraculously, the task becomes easier! We get stronger, more resilient, and pretty soon we’ve leveled up.
So remember, perhaps the most effective way to accelerate our growth is to find someone “running” at a slightly faster pace.
(If you feel like you don’t know anyone that can push you, Michael Hyatt put together an awesome list of ways you can enlist the help of anyone, whether or not you have a relationship with them.)