1 Cor. 9:24 “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.“
Part of leadership is being able to learn from others who further down the road than you are. They can be either “elites” orpacesetters. It is very important to know the difference between them. Both are needed, but their roles are very different.
An “elite” will usually be someone who is older than you, someone who has lots of experience and is very good at what they do. “Elites” are people who are way out of your class. Use them as coaches, use them as mentors, ask them questions and learn from them, but don’t try to use them as pacesetters.
A pacesetter can be one of your peers that excels in an area that you want to grow in.He is a few steps beyond you in abilities or experience. Someone you can say of, “He has a lot of the qualities of the person that I would like to be.” And then you pace that person, you run with them trying to keep up and develop your own skills as you do.
You know what pacesetters do for me? They bring out the best in me and urge me on when I want to quit. My pacesetters will always hold a very valued place in my heart because pacing them has brought me further than I would have gone on my own. If it hadn’t been for them, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
For example, if I want to write books, pastor a church, and plant new churches, I will look for someone who has a successful track record doing these things. I will watch what they do, find out how they do it, and then I will pace them until I am able to pass them. Then I will find another pacesetter.
I do this when I run in races. I find someone who has developed himself better than I have, and I line up behind him so I can set my pace by that person. He becomes my pacesetter. I don’t try to run with the “elites,” the runners who travel the world running for big bucks. I may be able to keep up with an “elite” for a few steps, but then I’ll collapse and drop out. If you try to pace an “elite” you’ll kill yourself. I need to stay with a pacesetter to finish the race.
When you need to grow in an area, first identify your need. Next, ask yourself the questions, “Do I need an “elite” to learn from, or a pacesetter to spur me on, or maybe both?” Learning how to leverage off of both types of leaders will enable you to learn more, and go further than you would have on your own.