If you want to achieve your best performance in a race, as any good coach will tell you, there’s one rule you must always follow without exception: Forget about the guy in the lane next to you.

The same is true in life.

Because when we’re focused on outrunning the other guy, we’re no longer focused on achieving our own personal best. When we’re looking backwards or sideways or any direction other than the one we’re going, we break our momentum. When we allow fear to plot our course (fear that we’re not good enough, fear that someone else is doing it better than we are), we lose our bearings, our footing and, at times, even ourselves.

At the sound of the starter pistol, each one of us exploded out of the blocks with all the power and truth and grace of the universe harnessed within us. Potential and promise, like wind at our backs. But when we consume ourselves with the successes and failures of the people around us, we miss out on our own unique opportunities to do and be great things. We lose our truth in the scuffle. We waste our one wild and precious life trying to win at someone else’s game.

Today friends, let’s remember that life is a marathon, not a sprint. That we are each uniquely endowed with our own special gifts, just as we are each here to do our own deep work, meet our own challenges and learn our own lessons. We’re not all following the same script. We haven’t all been dealt the same hand. We’re not all running the same race.

Which means no matter how much you may not want to believe it, your biggest competition is actually not the person in the lane next to you.

It’s the one in yours.