I make a conscious effort to surround myself with amazing people. People who inspire, motivate and challenge me. These people inspire me to try new things and to be a better person. I strive for more because I see what they are doing and more importantly because they want me to succeed.
I love it when friends suggest things to me like “Hey, do you want to do the Tongariro Crossing?” I usually say “Sure!” to such requests (without actually thinking about what I’m getting myself in to!) A nice little walk they call it in New Zealand… “nice” and “little” might mean something different in NZ! It’s a 17 or 18 or 19km hike (depending on which sign or book you’re reading). It crosses over Mount Tongariro, an active volcano. (Side note – It hadn’t erupted since 1896 but did 10 months after I was there. Crazy things always happen after I leave a country, but more on that another time). But really, it was an awesome challenge with a great friend, exactly the type of experiences that I love my life to be made up of.
There is a downside to having all of these awesome ambitious people surrounding me though… I don’t own my accomplishments.
20 years ago I went to Boston to watch a friend run the marathon. It was the first time that I had been a spectator at such a huge event. It was incredibly emotional watching these people who have trained so hard to qualify, compete and finish. When I got home I started running. It was ugly! I remember running down the block and coming home, laying down, certain that I was having a heart attack! My running improved (slowly) and I ran a few 5k races. I never really considered myself a runner though. I know runners. They’re fast… faster than me. Real runners run longer distances than me.
At some point years later I decided to do a half marathon with my sister-in-law. It was a big deal! The thought of it scared me. But I trained and I did it. But I know lots of people who have done half marathons so, no big accomplishment.
Much to my surprise a few years after that I decided to train for a full marathon. Something I never believed that I could or would do. Again I trained and I did it! But I know lots of people who have done marathons so again, no big accomplishment.
A couple of weeks ago when I did the swim (post: Passion versus Fear) I was the first female, wetsuit in the 500m. It was exciting to be first…. but half of the people didn’t swim because of the cold water. Some of the swimmers did the 1km, if they had done the 500 they probably would have been faster than me and there were people without wetsuits faster than me. I won but I’ll put an * next to the win.
On Facebook I am part of a running group with runners of all levels. Last week a lady posted a picture of herself. She had just finished her first 5K race, she was proud of herself (deservedly), but she said “I know it’s peanuts compared to what most of you do”. My comment to her was “Own it!”.
And now I have to start taking my own advice. I am a runner. I finished a half marathon and that’s an amazing accomplishment. I finished a full marathon and that is truly an unbelievable accomplishment. And I finished first in my division in the swim a few weeks ago and I am going to own that! I am working on it, working on not making excuses for why I accomplished, or did well at something. I was at another swim yesterday and a woman told me I looked familiar. We talked for a few minutes trying to figure out where she might know me from and then her friend said “You won the LOST race didn’t you?” My immediate reaction was to say “No, I didn’t win it. I was the first female wetsuit in the 500m” instead I said “Yes, I did!”
Whatever your accomplishments are OWN THEM! No disclaimers, comparisons or asterisks. You don’t need to explain how or why you accomplished something, just that you did it. JUST OWN IT!
A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it, it just blooms ~ Zen Shin