Life Is Not A Race

I have a bad habit of making life out to be a race – looking around to see who’s ahead – wondering who’s coming up behind me – struggling to get a neck above the competition – feeling that I am lagging behind others who are smarter and faster. And as long as this makes me work harder and strive to be better at what I do, then great. But if it makes me feel less than, then something’s wrong. And I’ve finally figured out, in this crazy journey as a motivational speaker, that it’s not as black and white as I try to make it out to be.  I have finally realized that life is not a race. My career is not a race. Being a good mother is not a race. Pleasing God is not a race. It’s an amazing intricate spider web. And I am not ahead of you, I am intersecting you. I am not behind you, I am passing you and crossing over and looping back and jumping over and under and around again. There is no finish line – there is only a journey. And, sure, we bump shoulders along the way, but we all have our own unique path with its own twists and turns. So next time I look at someone else and wish that I was “further along” like her – or next time I look at someone else and feel better than because I am faster – or next time I look in the mirror and feel like I don’t even belong in the race – I will STOP. And I will remind myself that life is not a race. We are not running along one straight path towards a win. What looks like further, is not further, and what looks like behind is not really behind – it’s just another curved line of the web. Perhaps this is all confusing to you, and you are happy jogging along in your race. Then fine. I don’t want to trip you up. But for me, this makes all the sense in the world. And somehow I am completely at peace, whether I am running or standing still, along the intricate beatifully designed web that is my life. What a beautiful picture it makes – of me. And I am so happy that you are in it and our lines crossed.


Motivational Speaker Kelly Swanson - called one of North Carolina's funniest women by Our State Magazine. Kelly lifts the spirits of audiences from coast-to-coast using humor, storytelling, and lives of the characters from Prides Hollow - Kelly's make believe small town. This unique approach to motivational speaking allows Kelly to break through communications barriers and connect directly to the audience's imagination.
Her powerful stories and wacky wit will make you laugh, remind you that you matter, show you how to see beyond your obstacles, and teach you how to stand up and stick out in a crowded market.
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  1. This is perfect truth, Kelly. You know I’ve always felt like the tortoise rather than the hare, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t times I feel the pressure to run faster or compare the road I’m on to another. In those moments I’ll heed your advice. I’ll say to myself, “Colette dare not to compare as you are running on your own path in your own time.” Then I’ll chuckle because I don’t run ever. I walk!!

  2. Beautifully said Ms. Kelly. And oh yes, as motivational speakers, this tendency to compare is HUGE!! but it’s not just us. It’s probably almost everyone who ever wanted to “succeed” at something and looked around to see where they stood in the process.  Thank you for pointing out that we don’t need to CALL that process “less than” or “more than” but just – the process. The glorious, winding, and as you say, intersecting process.  

  3. Wow, I thought I was the only one that had issues with seeing my profession as a race and constantly thinking I should be further along than I am.  Thanks so much for articulating what makes perfectly good sense to me as well.  It’s not a race.  In fact, if I had what I wanted when I wanted it, I would not have what I have now.  I work with an amazing team that wasn’t even available when the person I hired to sell me stalled for a month then another month and then decided she couldn’t work with me at all.  At the time I was DEVASTATED.  Now, I am totally grateful that she isn’t with me because I have someone who is even better.  The next time I cry about not winning the race, I’ll think of your post.  THANK YOU!


  1. […] discusses her struggles in comparing herself with others, and comes to the conclusion that “Life is Not a Race.” Kelly’s take: we’re not in a race with the people we compare ourselves with. […]

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