It’s how you think about the race that matters


Over the weekend we took my son to the New England Regional Track finals. He kept warning me that they were seeded just about last and were not expected to win their race or even come close to winning. I gently reminded him that earlier in the season he had not expected to get to run at Regionals at all, in fact, he had not even expected to run in his state finals. We all packed up and went. He was in at the 4 by 800 relay, which for you non track geeks, is a relay where that each run a little over 2 mins. He had only run this relay 3 times. One time to show his coach that he was a fast “short distance” runner, one time in the state meet and now he was running at an arena where many elite runners had  raced. There was great energy and expectancy  in the air. His team was not last but they certainly were not in the top 5 either. I didn’t know what to expect from him when he found me in the crowd afterward. He had some choices to make on how to view his race.

1st choice:

He ran consistently and even ran 1 second faster than he had last time (seconds! OMG- track talk!) but 2 out of the 4 boys did not have their best race:  choice: I could possibly blame someone else for the outcome.

2nd choice:

He met a coach and father of an elite runner sitting next to me in the crowd (ok, I met them and introduced him) they gave him technique suggestions and told him that the mere fact that he was here as a sophomore showed remarkable potential: choice: I need to change high schools so I can get better training. I am possibly not in the right place to be doing my very best.

3rd and final choice:

As we drove out of the city in search for a lunch spot, I heard him say, “I went to Regionals. I can hardly believe it, as a sophomore. It is just now sinking in!”: choice: I am satisfied and happy today, right in this moment. 

Over lunch, he also expressed that he was considering staying at his small Catholic high school (we had been talking for weeks about a change.) The choice is up to him, all these choices are up to him. It is how he chooses to think about the race that really counts.

The same goes for us, we can wake up starting the day thinking that we can’t possibly accomplish all we need to do. We can carry those defeating thoughts as we plot our weekly and monthly calendars out. We can choose to think that we don’t have enough creative time or that our businesses are not growing fast enough. We can focus on deals that didn’t happen instead of being pleased with the ones that did.

Make the right choices about how you view where you are today. Decide to be grateful that you have energy to accomplish anything on your daily and weekly calendar. Realize how fortunate you are to get to incorporate creativity into your life. Understand that you may not see the roots spreading underneath the surface of your business, be confident that each step you take is grounding you for growth. Rejoice in the GOOD things that are going on in your life and choose to believe that the deals that didn’t take place didn’t take place for a reason.

The outcome of Luke’s race was what it was. He could have had gone over every detail in the car (and trust me-he does that often) and dissected it. I was so proud that he just basked in the opportunity that he had that day to even be in the race. 

It moved me.  I spent the rest of the weekend quietly painting and puttering with a smile on my face, happy to even have to opportunity to do what I do. The right view of your race changes everything.

How are you going to choose to think about your week?


  • Betz White says:

    Sometimes the lessons we want so badly for our children to learn are also the ones we need to learn the most ourselves. This post really resonated with me! Thank you Monica and congrats on your son's attitude!

  • Love, love, love this thank you.

  • Rachel Low says:

    Thank you Monica! Such inspiring words to start my Monday and kick off my week. It is true that we all have a CHOICE on how to view what is going on in our lives – – business, personal, you name it. Staying in a place of being positive, having hope and being grateful is my choice for the day and week. xoxo

  • Monica, thank you SO much for today's post. I had just been giving myself some discouraging self talk about not accomplishing enough. You post made we change my thinking completely. It's so true and I thank you for reminding me that I much to be grateful for. I even printed out one of the paragraphs to hang on my wall. Thank you for all you do!

  • Heatherlee Iverson Chan says:

    What an awesome reminder to be grateful. Sounds like you have raised a wonderful young man!

    • Monica Lee says:

      I certainly like to think so-who know I could so enjoy the company of a 16 year old son. Mom’s take heart, teenagers sometimes get a bad rap!

  • Gail Sorkow says:

    Just in time….reading todays message changed my attitude (from a chore to excitement about its potential) on the project I am working on today.
    Thankyou. Have a great week!

  • Thank you for the Monday morning attitude adjustment! Three wonderful opportunities were presented to me a few months ago and I've been juggling trying to do them and do them well. I've been beating myself up over not having more done at this point. Your article made me change my mind set to "how darn lucky I am" to have 3 opportunities to work on! Happy Monday!

  • Romy says:

    Oh, this is so timely, Monica. Thank you! It is so true, we have a choice on how we view our world and ourselves and we get to choose the actions we want to take or not. Sometimes we get so caught up in our own little spin that we forget that, at least I do:) There’s something liberating just in being able to ponder the choices I get to make. It absolutely puts things in a different perspective. What a great way to start into a new work week:)

  • Thank you so much. This is a terrific article. Glad for your son. And thank you for the reminders and encouragement for us all.

  • Cecelia says:

    Thanks for sharing his experience and for a wonderful reminder to appreciate what we have. It’s been a wonderful start to my morning!

    • Monica Lee says:

      YAY!!! I have to say, it started my day out pretty well to and all these comments are just making it better!

  • Yay! You are welcome, Rachel! Think of it like a good high rise apartment-"It's all about the view!"

  • I love that you applied this from a stress point to a gratitude point! woot!

  • Hooray!! You are welcome!

  • Oh wow, Pam! I am humbled that you did that!! (I hope there were not TyPoS!) 🙂

  • Awesome-chore to excitement. That is funny you say that because I just got home from the GROCERY store and for the first time in weeks i didn't resent the trip or the cold weather. I think I am on to something…

  • Brenda, I have been mentally debating on whether to show him the post (it's not cool to know what your mom is up to) but now I just might!

  • MaryJane Mitchell says:

    Hello Monica, As a “running Geek” who still runs races on trails, I thought I would chime in here. I believe your son made one of the best choices of his life by staying in the moment and enjoying it.
    What a great story and a terrific one to share on your blog. I have been going over the same sort of stuff in my life for a few months, making changes, trying out new things and yes, feeling I am not doing enough to propell me forward in my design business. Thanks again Monica and please tell Luke that running is an amazing sport. I wish him well. MJ

  • Hannah Kosek says:

    Hi Monica,
    Sure needed this reminder today. I think getting into the habit of talking down to yourself, of what you’ve accomplished, is a big hurdle in your own business.

    This article reminded me very much of 1st Corinthians 9:24. “Run in such a way as to get the prize.” Very true in our spiritual lives, but applies to business as well.



  • No, you did just fine in that regard!

  • Cynzk says:

    Thanks for sharing this story Monica. Sometimes we get so lost on the “prize” that we forget to stop and smell the roses along the way. Lately I keep trying to remind myself when I get frustrated that I am doing what I love and there should be over the top happy. I choose to look at this week as a gift.
    Thanks again,

    • Monica Lee says:

      Yes, I agree! Sometimes the “prize” can make us miss the real focus, right??

  • Love this post (love all of them but…) I learn so much from my two teenage boys also! I realize that as much as I love what I do – being in the moment with them and remembering how lucky I am to have them in my life is the absolute best! What you're doing is awesome! You go girl!

  • Kate Pitner says:

    What a beautiful post, Monica! Thank you!

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