When you perform, how do you measure success? By what’s expected of you? A number set by someone else? A comparison of yourself against your peers?
My son, Jack, recently ran his 200 meter junior high track event & was over the moon with his results. Did he set a school record? Beat the field? Hit his coach’s number? Nope. Nope. and Nope. In fact, he finished in last place; over 10 seconds behind the first place runner. So why the exuberance?
Jack ran his personal best time (which he affectionately calls his PB). He knew he placed last, and still, he was completely content with his result because it was his best effort. You see, Jack has a neurological “hitch” that compromises his motor coordination and muscle control among other things. As a result, physical achievements expected of kids his age come slowly & painstakingly to him.
Wisdom like Jack’s is rare. Jack understands his reality & refuses to be stopped by it. He isn’t a pitbull – he simply keeps trying hard, accepts himself as he is and as he isn’t, and enjoys the process. In fact, Jack rarely gets frustrated with what is.
I learn a lot from the way he leads his life. I learn that, even in the midst of challenge, joy is an option. I learn that, even when you pale in comparison to the field, steadfast commitment to your own progress is still success. And I learn that accepting our weaknesses with as much tolerance as we embrace our strengths makes us a fabulous team member, exemplary role model, and happy person to our core.
Jack is the most humble person I know. And yet, every time I tell him how awesome he is, he says “I know.” Matter of fact. Yes – I know I’m awesome just as I am and just as I am not. May we all embrace our own brand of awesome; creating success against our own benchmarks and dropping the need to “be something” for someone else.