By Kent Mulkey

Legendary NASCAR driver Richard Petty said his father told him, “Win the race as slow as you can.” Huh?

From the NASCAR Hall of Fame:

Richard Petty is called “The King” for good reason. Petty has racked up most wins (200), most poles (123), tied for most championships (seven), most wins in a season (27), most Daytona 500 wins (seven), most consecutive wins (10) and most starts (1,185).

His paradoxical quote makes me think of the tortoise and the hare, that the race doesn’t always go to the swiftest, but to the one who hangs in there and outlasts the group.

I am not proud to say that for the first 25 years or so in my career, I lived as though every day, every month, every year was a sprint to the finish. I lived a frenzied life, missing kids’ plays and ballgames, working weekends, and getting up at zero-dark-thirty to get more done. The awful part of it is that I never felt like I was doing enough, yet I worked for some very successful organizations over those years.

In the past few years, I have dramatically changed the way I approach work and life. The first thing in the morning, I spend at least 30 minutes at my desk looking over the day ahead. Some call this taking a “view from the balcony.” I think through the meetings I have planned — what tone do I want to set, who in the room needs encouragement, where are we slipping a bit on our priorities, where are the most recent successes that need to be shouted out?

But that is not the magic. The best part of the day rests in what I do as I drink my morning coffee. I read The Daily Stoic, by Ryan Holiday. I spend a few minutes reading the Bible. I listen to music (not Taylor Swift). I get my mind, heart, and soul in balance.

I know that the day ahead will be filled with amazing opportunities to touch the lives of residents and staff. As the leader of the band, I must be prepared, fit, and 100% ready to take on the day.