Monday, September 30, 2013

The Space Between

May the space between where I am and where I want to be inspire me. ~Tracee Ellis Ross

Not sure a more fitting quote could have popped up in my Twitter feed today. Hard on the heels of this doozy:

It wouldn’t be out of line to caption this image The story of my life

I don’t know how not to compare myself to others. My competitive streak is a unique blend. I don’t like outright competition. I don’t like declaring goals publicly. Discussing raises and promotions is extremely uncomfortable, and I would much rather show you how well I can do something than tell you about it. This isn’t to say that I don’t want to be first place, faster, stronger, fitter, higher ranked, higher paid. This isn’t to say I don’t get a thrill when I look at my watch and realize I have met or exceeded a goal. (whispers) I just don’t want to talk about it.

I could tell half a dozen stories about boys I liked who would rather talk to my friends, people with far less experience than myself being hired for jobs I know I could blow out of the water, or about the time I almost cried learning to water ski because I was so bad at it. I don’t like being bad at things. I don’t like the look on people’s faces as they think of something to say that is encouraging without being patronizing.

If this were the Biggest Loser, it would come down to this pivotal moment when Jillian terrorizes me with questions and burpees and there is a breakthrough moment to reveal that I have a fear of failure (duh-duh-dunh!) Since this isn’t Biggest Loser (New season starts in two weeks. I have a reason to turn on the TV again!), I’m going to re-visit something I used to tell the parents when I taught parent-child classes:

In order to teach your child to succeed, you must teach them how to fail.

Can we put taking my own advice in the “not my favorite things” column?

If we want to see our kids walk across that balance beam all by themselves, we have to teach them not to be afraid, and to maybe fall off a few times. If we want them to want to do their best, knowing what it feels like when they don't is a powerful lesson. If I want to hear “Yes.”, I have to A.) Ask the question. B.) Learn to accept “No” and keep plugging. If I want to pass people, I have to try to pass people. I get it.

So my commitment for today is that I am going to choose to be inspired by the space between where I am and where I want to be, rather than intimidated or discouraged. I am going to get excited about how far I will have come when I reach my goals, and how wonderful it will feel to look back and say “That’s where I was. Look where I am.”

I’m not going to say I will stop comparing myself. (Baby steps.) I’m not going to tell you what my goals are for this program. (Yet.)

I am going to wring every last drop of joy, growth, and sweat possible from this experience.  

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