I just finished The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein and I can’t recommend it highly enough. It’s sort of about a dog and sort of about race car driving but it’s really about an approach to life and to challenge that I found both inspiring at a personal level and applicable at a professional level. I won’t give away any of the plot but I found some lessons that I wanted to share, and I’d love to hear what you think if you’ve read it.
- The car goes where the eyes go – It’s so simple. Zig Ziglar passed away this week, and his version is similar. “If you aim at nothing you will hit it every time”. The things you focus on, the things you visualize are the things that come to pass. If you visualize nothing, that’s what you’ll get. If you worry constantly about failure, you will go where your worry goes. But if your eyes are on success for you, for your team and for your organization, the car will go there.
- The zebra is inside of us – You’ll have to read the book for the zebra metaphor to make sense, but when you do, it’s powerful. We all have challenges and we all have moments of doubt about our ability to reach success. The zebra wants you to fail. But you still have a choice. You don’t have to give in to the zebra.
- There is no dishonor in losing the race, there is only dishonor in not racing because you are afraid to lose – When I competed in sports growing up I lost plenty of times. I’m not particularly athletic. And when I came in last, my Dad would say “you beat everyone who didn’t show up.” It didn’t help much then, but he was right. You cannot succeed if you don’t try. In order to win you have to show up. In order to lead, sometimes you have to show up for your team even when you are afraid.
Most of all I loved this book because it’s not preachy. It’s full of lessons but they are so plainly and wisely spoken. Another good lesson for all of us who work with people. Showing is always better than telling.
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