HOW THE FEAR OF FALLING BEHIND LEADS TO FAILURE
When little kids first start to run in the sport of Track and Field, they constantly look around to see where they are compared to their fellow runners. The kid in the lead keeps looking back to see how close the competition is–fearful someone will pass him up and he'll fall behind, even though he's winning.
As the kids continue to compete in the sport, they are taught to not look around. It's a waste of energy and by looking around, they lose momentum. In fact, looking around and being afraid of falling behind almost guarantees a loss. Instead, these kids are taught to focus on their form, to look to the finish line, and to put everything they have into running their best race.
I'm going to shift gears for a second. The other day I went to dinner with a dear friend. Now, this woman is a powerhouse. I mean she's getting her MBA. She's the director of marketing for a large company. She has an amazing husband (who is also getting a masters degree), a totally stylish house, and even has the most adorable dog. Needless to say, she's got her shit together and I feel very lucky that she even talks to me, let alone calls me a friend. So I was shocked when she told me how she feels behind in a particular area of her life. She's been smart and strategic about this area, setting her family up for the best possible life but when she looks at others here, she feels behind.
In my conversation with her, I realized that, frankly, it doesn't matter who you are, we all have a tendency to look in one area of our life and compare it to the timetable of someone else. Honestly, compared to her, I feel very behind! And I'm sure there is someone out there who may look at me and feel behind because I have two dogs or something. The truth is, if we keep looking around, we won't fall behind.. we'll just fail at living OUR best life.
So how do we keep that from happening? By taking the training advice given to those runners:
We need to focus on our form. It's not about the when or the what, it's about the how. Are we giving it our best? Are we doing it right, by our standards and not by someone else's?
We need to focus on the finish line. Everyone's finish line is different, every race is different. And we do nothing but waste valuable time and energy when we look around.
Which leads me to the final piece of advice: run your own race. If you do your best, on your own terms, you can't fail or fall behind.
Photo by Jimmy Chang