Run the race with joy.
That was the simple message Blaine Hurst, retired CEO of Panera Bread left us with after his PXUX talk, and honestly, we were all in tears. He’d just finished a story about his son, who is disabled, and ran for his high school cross country team. His son ran very slowly, far behind the rest of the pack. But David did finish a few races throughout the season, often with the help of his teammates.
Then came the last race of the season, the Regionals. As a father, Blaine was worried. David would be so far behind and delay everyone’s celebration. But David ran. The race was thought to be over, the finish box was taken down, and people were cleaning up when a call came on the radio “runner still on course”. David.
The race organizer called everyone back. The barriers were set back up, the finish line was re-stretched, and everyone lined up to cheer David in. David broke through the trees with the biggest smile on his face. Blaine and his wife tearfully celebrated with David. Blaine walked around and told everyone thanks and how much he appreciated making the experience so memorable for David. The race organizer said, “this is just what we do. If there’s a runner on the course, the whole team will be here”.
Blaine walked over to the Gator driver. He had followed David the entire race. Blaine began to apologize to the driver, but the driver looked up with a tear in his eye and said,
“Don’t apologize. I watched your son, dead last, stumble and fall. And fall again. He always got up and looked at me, with a smile on his face and waved. He smiled and waved to everyone he passed along the way. Sir, this was one of my best days ever.” Puzzled, Blaine waited for more.
“Sir, your son Ran the Race with Joy”.
Blaine suggested that that story is so applicable to each of us. Often asked, what is one of the key learnings he’s had throughout his 45 years of business, his first response is always the same.
Regardless of the circumstances, regardless of the challenges, we can all “Run the Race with Joy”. It will impact you, your team, your family … everyone around you.
We all can achieve more when we “Run the Race with Joy”.