Have you ever had a moment in life that was so meaningful that it’s stuck in your memory for years to come? Today’s post is just about that, a moment that has stood out from the rest. This specific memory is from a lesson I learned about myself almost 20 years ago as a young varsity athlete.
I’m a sprinter first, a long distance runner second. At Laurentian University, I ran for the varsity Track & Field team as well as the Cross Country Running team. Attending a small University, a population of about 5000, when they pretty much accepted anyone trying out on the team. I was passionate about sprinting (my first love), and joined the Cross Country running team for two reasons, I felt I was expected to, and I figured that it would be a great way to cross train for track.
I wasn’t a very strong long distance runner. I could barely run longer than 5 km. I would complain at longer distances. It was definitely not passionate about long distances.
The important lesson came later as a second year student and athlete, when I was at a cross-country running meet in Kingston, Ontario. It wasn’t a long race, maybe 5 or 6 km but I remember it being particular challenging. I was the last runner with no one behind me. I remember seeing the volunteers starting to pack up thinking there were no more runners. Then I heard one of volunteers call out to the others, warning them to stick around a little longer, there was one more runner, me. That was a particularly deflating moment. No one ever wants to be last. I knew I wasn’t a strong long distance runner and I was always at the tail end of a race, but being last in a race was a first (and only) for me.
Still, I kept going, moving towards the finish line even if my morale was low. With a few hundred meters to go, I could hear my coach screaming. I thought that it was because he wanted to encourage me to finish the race. As I got closer, I could hear what he was actually telling me. He was actually really excited for me on because I was running this race at my fastest pace yet, 5 min/km. After the race, I found out that I set a personal record in that race.Your self worth is not about how you compare to everyone else, but how you measure up against… Click To Tweet
So what was the important lesson that I learned that day? The important lesson learned is that I am my own competition. I shouldn’t compare myself to others. My own self-worth is not about my standings compared to everyone else, but about how I measure up against myself.
Although in the big scheme of things, yeah, I was running a race with a large number of people, but my only competitor was really myself. It doesn’t really matter if you are first or last in a race. If you know for sure you ran your hardest, you should feel accomplished. I remember how proud my coach was of me at the moment when embarrassment was swallowing me up. I definitely think differently looking back on the event.
Now this lesson can definitely be transferred to other parts of life, not just running. When it comes to careers, salaries, the size ones’ home, or the size of someone else’s blog, we are always comparing ourselves to others. Happiness doesn’t stem from that. In fact, the reverse is true. Just remember, your self-worth is not about how you compare to everyone else, but how you measure up against yourself.
Join the conversation:
- Have you ever had a moment that you seemed to remember more clearly than others?
- What’s one important lesson you’ve learned 20 years ago?
- How do you measure yourself?