Home is where your heart is, in racing and at work.

People’s passions lie where their hearts lie.  And where their hearts lie, their loyalties lie.  This is important to keep in mind in racing and in business.

I was recently profiled by Runner’s World for a story on their web site as one of the magazine’s Runner’s World Challenge participants.  One of the many questions I was asked was, “What is your rave run?”  For those who read the magazine, they know each month Runner’s World features a person’s rave run.  Usually, this run is somewhere very scenic, even exotic.  My answer to this question was neither of those things.

My rave run is a neighborhood about a mile away from my house.  The scenery isn’t what makes this my favorite run.  It’s the people who live in the neighborhood that make this run so special for me.  Over the last several years, these kind, friendly people have watched me train all year long for marathons and triathlons, and they have followed my progress.  They are the first to slow their cars down so they don’t “buzz” me when I’m running or cycling.  They thoughtfully yield the right of way to me so I don’t have to slow down my pace.  They high five me, shout out encouragement and wave as I make this 2.5 mile loop over and over again.  When it’s sweltering hot, they ask if I need my water bottle refilled.  When thunder starts rumbling, someone will often stop and ask if I want a ride home. When it’s freezing cold, they tell me my dedication is an inspiration.  But the reality is that they are my inspiration…like crowd support during a race.  And that support helps my performance.

The reason this neighborhood is my rave run is because even though I don’t actually live in this neighborhood, it feels like home.  A place where I know I’m always welcome.  A place where I feel comfortable and at ease.  A place where I’m surrounded by caring, friendly people who support my efforts on so many levels.  This neighborhood is a very special place to me.

So how does this story relate to business?  When employees, vendors and others we work with feel at home, they feel a loyalty to us and our businesses. They are also more motivated to perform at their best and go the extra mile.

Many people leave their jobs to go elsewhere because they don’t feel welcome, appreciated or respected.  Companies lose good people every day because of this and that costs them time and money.  Yet it would seem so simple to prevent this by treating their business associates like neighbors and making them feel at home.

If you want to be someone’s rave employer or rave vendor, you just need to go the distance to make sure they know they’re welcome, appreciated and part of your workplace neighborhood. It’s amazing how simple kindness and a little support makes such a huge difference in the way people feel.

I encourage you to be a good, supportive neighbor to those you work with.  You have my word you will reap the benefits in a very special way by filling people’s hearts, fueling their spirits and creating a sense of community.

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