When the handgun is fired, it is the long awaited signal to begin the moment you have been preparing for – the race. The long hours, the training and the sacrifice are finally put to the test. You have been graced with a short period to prove whether your toil has been worth it and to prayerfully perform to the best of your ability.

If only our life courses were so simple, that we had a clear beginning and an end. Too often we find ourselves running, unsure of when we started, where the finishing line is, or how we even got there.

But we realize we’re heading somewhere. We’re always heading somewhere.

So, where are you going?

Figuring out your life course is the hardest part of running your own race. We are regularly met by crossroads and bombarded with various distractions. Often, the moment we gain speed we are halted by an unanticipated circumstance or person. It is these moments that we question whether we were going in the right direction in the first place.

Our life course is unique in that it also serves as our training ground. Therefore it is hard to separate the “practice” from the “real event”. The present part of the journey prepares you for the future, and every moment you are running, you are also training too.

Frequently we forget that our life course is a race of endurance. We sprint amiss, and find ourselves exhausted, begging to pull out. Have you ever become really excited about a new project, yet took too many shortcuts to see it really come to fruition? Have you ever rushed into a relationship, falling too hard, too deep, too soon? We get so caught up trying to catch up with others, that we fail to realize true success occurs “little by little”. It is this incremental progress that produces the most stable and lasting results.

When running your own race, there are four things to consider in your training:

1. The importance of vision

What is the vision that you have for yourself in each area of your life, and what is it based upon? Although vision rarely manifests in the exact way you imagine it, it gives you a goal to run towards. Sports psychologists suggest that there is little difference between an actual race and an imagined race in the mind. Therefore, the way you picture yourself in certain roles and positions, will highly inform the way you will actually be.

2. You need to practice

The best athletes spend years mastering their gift. How do you treat your gifts and talents? This weekend I shared with my husband that I would love to write for Time magazine someday. He responded with a classic one-liner: “You want to write for Time magazine, but are you giving time for your writing?” Needless to say, I was convicted. The truth is, the only way you will be elevated to bigger platforms, is if you are faithful in the small ones. Perhaps you desire to take on a leadership position at work, but are you leading in the role that you currently have? Are you taking initiative? Your character does not automatically shift as you progress – you have to start practicing now.

3. Be mindful of consumption

When you are training, what are you taking in? How much time do you spend reading books related to your goal in comparison to watching TV? How many hours do you spend listening to podcasts as opposed to scrolling through your social media feed? What do you feed your soul with? I have often heard that your bank statements reveal what is most important to you, as it shows what you tend to invest in. I further contend that your web history reveals what you love, as it shows what you spend your time consuming.

4. Remember you’re training to win

Clarify what this means for you, and run hard towards it. You may not end up in the place where you initially thought, but you’ll certainly get where you’re supposed to be.

Faith Cole

Formerly known as “Faith Jegede”, the TED-talking, radio-hosting writer quit London for her American adventure back in 2013. New country, new husband, new career and new name - Faith Cole is passionate about extraordinary living, audacious faith and communication.

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