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Some encouragement for the race

Some words of encouragement for you, if your race towards your goals in the first half of the year did not go as well as you had hoped.
You might know someone who could use this to re-energise themselves and redouble their efforts for the times ahead, if so feel free to pass it on.

”Quit, give up, you’re beaten” They shout at me and plead
“There’s just too much against you This time you can’t succeed”.
And as I start to hang my head in front of failure’s face,
my downward fall is broken by the memory of a race.
And hope refills my weakened will As I recall that scene
Or just the thought of that short race Rejuvenates my being

A children’s race, young boys, young men; how I remember well,
excitement sure, but also fear, it wasn’t hard to tell.
They all lined up so full of hope, each thought to win that race
or tie for first, or if not that, at least take second place.
And fathers watched from off the side, each cheering for their son.
and each boy hoped to show his dad that he would be the one.

The whistle blew and off they flew Young hearts and hopes afire
To win and be the hero there Was each young boys desire
One boy in particular, whose dad was in the crowd,
was running in the lead and thought “My dad will be so proud.”
But as he speeded down the field across a shallow dip,
the little boy who thought he’d win, lost his step and slipped.
Trying hard to catch himself, his hands flew out to brace,
and midst the laughter of the crowd he fell flat on his face.
As he fell, his hope fell too; he couldn’t win it now.
Humiliated, he just wished to disappear somehow.

But as he fell his dad stood up and showed his anxious face,
which to the boy so clearly said, “Get up and win that race!”
He quickly rose, no damage done, behind a bit that’s all,
and ran with all his mind and might to make up for his fall.
So anxious to restore himself, to catch up and to win,
his mind went faster than his legs.; he slipped and fell again.
He wished that he had quit before with only one disgrace.
“I’m hopeless as a runner now, I shouldn’t try to race.”

But in the laughing crowd he searched and found his father’s face
that steady look which said again, “Get up and win that race!”
So he jumped up to try again, ten yards behind the last.
“If I’m to gain those yards,” he thought, “I’ve got to run real fast!”
Exerting everything he had, he regained eight, then ten…
but trying hard to catch the lead, he slipped and fell again.

Defeat! He lay there silently. A tear dropped from his eye.
“There’s no sense running any more! Three strikes I’m out! Why try?
The will to rise had disappeared All hope had fled away
So far behind so error prone A loser all the way
I’ve lost, so what’s the use?” he thought. “I’ll live with my disgrace.”
But then he thought about his dad, who soon he’d have to face.

“Get up” the echo sounded low “Get up” and take your place
You were not meant for failure here “Get up”, and win the race
”With borrowed will “Get up” it said “You haven’t lost at all”
For winning is no more than this To rise each time you fall

So, up he rose to run once more, and with a new commit
he resolved that win or lose, at least he wouldn’t quit.
So far behind the others now, the most he’d ever been,
still he gave it all he had and ran as though to win.
Three times he’d fallen stumbling, three times he rose again.
Too far behind to hope to win, he still ran to the end.

They cheered the winning runner as he crossed the line first place,
head high and proud and happy no falling, no disgrace.
But, when the fallen youngster crossed the line, last place,
the crowd gave him a greater cheer for finishing the race.
And even though he came in last with head bowed low, unproud,
you would have thought he’d won the race, to listen to the crowd.
And to his dad he sadly said, “I didn’t do so well.”
“To me, you won,” his father said “You rose each time you fell.”

And now when things seem dark and hard and difficult to face,
the memory of that little boy helps me in my own race.
For all of life is like that race, with ups and downs and all.
And all you have to do to win is rise each time you fall.
And when depression and despair shout loudly in my face,
another voice within me says, “Get up and win that race!”

I came across this poem again through a friend, Andy (Thanks Andy!) It resonated deeply with me and have shared it with many people who have also found it useful. It is called ‘The Race’ and is writen by D. H. Groberg.  I find that simple words can stir the soul to action much more than management speak! One of my mother’s learned poems, which she used to recite to us kids, has lived with me forever – and now lives with my 2 sons. You can find it here.

 What words inspire, ignite, motivate and move you in good times and in bad? I’d be grateful if you would consider sharing them here, through leaving a comment below.

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