Dr. Dale and I were honored with distinguished alumnae awards at our old high school over the weekend. It was special seeing our former teachers and having the opportunity to thank them for all they did for us. We were given the opportunity to share a special high school memory that impacted our lives and this is what I shared:
Every year during the off-season, our basketball team would march out to the track for our annual mile run. As sophomores, we were the youngest but wanted to prove yourself. This was our first time on the track. An interesting thing happened as the race progressed, you quickly recognized that the leaders were all sophomores. So much so that we were beginning to lap some of the upperclassmen. At the end of the race, the top finishers were celebrating giving one another high fives while coach patted us on the back. We were on top of the world after destroying all of the upperclassmen. Little did we know we would be back out on the track the following week.
You should’ve seen our faces the following week when coach told us we had to run the mile run again but this time, he wanted us to beat our last week’s time! I wanted to yell, “but we gave it all we had last week and we even beat the big bad upperclassmen!” I still remember the snickering coming from the upperclassmen as they watched our faces. They purposefully paced themselves the week before because they knew the real race was not finished.
Needless to say, I learned a great deal that day. I learned to pace myself; it’s not how fast or well you start but how you finish. I learned to dig deep and find a way to be better today than I was yesterday. Most importantly, I learned not to compete with others. I am my biggest competitor. So many students struggle trying to keep up with the Jones’. I’ll let you in on a little secret… the Joneses are broke! Well, not necessarily, but we really never know what the next person is going through or what they did to get there. I’ve seen too many students become so focused on what their peers are doing that they become anxious, depressed, jealous, or end up hurting themselves in the long run. There is nothing wrong with gaining motivation from others but never lose yourself because you are competing with them. We all have our own timeline. Make sure to stay in your lane and run your own race. This can be extremely liberating.
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