Do you know who held your high school’s record in the 500 free when you were a senior?
And unless you’re familiar with competitive swimming, there’s a really good chance you have no idea what the heck a 500 free even is (it’s 500 yards freestyle – 20 lengths of the pool).
Do you know who the valedictorian of the class that graduated two years before you was?
Has anyone asked you what your GPA in high school was in the last twenty years?
If someone showed your kids a picture of Mary Lou Retton, would they know who she was?
If you’re under 40 years old, do you know who Mary Lou Retton is?
If you walked back into your high school or to the place you first worked or to the preschool where your kids went to school, how many people woud recognize you?
I’m not trying to depress you.
I think it’s really cool to set big goals and when you’re actually able to accomplish what you set out to do, that’s a feeling that you can’t quite describe.
It feels amazing.
But that feeling is short-lived.
It lasts for a few hours or days or if you’re lucky you can stretch it out for a couple months.
Eventually what happens is you aren’t the best any more.
Somebody younger comes along and breaks your record. A different teacher is voted Teacher of the Year. You weren’t the top selling person on your team.
We focus so hard on being the best swimmer or student or teacher or whoever, and we forget that there’s only ONE thing we can ever be the best at…
Nobody else can ever be a better you than you.
And the way you become the best you that you can be is by pushing yourself.
Trying new things. Getting uncomfortable.
Failing. Getting back up. Trying again.
Acknowledging your faults.
Owning your screw-ups.
Setting big goals. Hitting them. Missing them.
Learning from them.
We think that by pushing our kids and focusing on results so they can “be the best” that we are helping them, but what we’re helping them do is believe that their results are what make them awesome.
But their results will be irrelevant five years from now.
Everyone will be talking about different fast/strong/smart/talented kids.
But not your kids.
It’s not the destination but the journey that’s important…
It’s kind of annoying, but it’s true.
What you learn about yourself not so much during the triumphant times but during the hard times, the low times, the failures…
THAT’S THE IMPORTANT STUFF.
If you’ve ever set a big goal and then achieved it, you know there’s a lot of work that goes into reaching the goal.
Days and weeks and months and years.
Some runners train for four years for an Olympic event that last less than 10 seconds.
You know how many seconds are in four years?
126,227,704 (I Googled it)
They invest (at least) one hundred twenty-six million seconds for something that lasts less than 10 seconds.
But what they learn about themselves during those 126 million seconds is what helps them not become the best runner in the world, but the best Susie or John or Jane or whoever in the world.
Nobody brings what you bring to the table.
You aren’t your results.
You are what you discover and learn about yourself in your pursuit of growth.
Your results are just feedback.
The more feedback you get, the more awesome you can become at being you.
Your results aren’t an indication of how talented or valulable or important or amazing you are.
They’re just a reminder of what you’re capable of.
They’re a reminder that you can survive hard stuff.
They’re a reminder of where you’ve been, where you are, and where you think you might want to go – and grow – next.
Anthony Saracino says
one foot in front of the other..
Oh I needed to read this, sometimes we forget. Very well said reminder!
Than you Susie!