Something that has been coming up a lot for me lately has been ideas around comparison. I hate to admit it, but it's something that I have to constantly fight against as I'm bombarded with people in my life (real and virtual) that are achieving the things that they have dreamed of...sometimes the very thing that I wish to be doing myself.
Comparison not only steals our joy, but it also stops us from achieving our ambitions. I remember so clearly our teachers at Primary School always telling us to run our own race on athletics day. When we would enter our lanes, "don't look back" were the words drummed into my head, but I'm sure every time, metres from the finish line, I would always be turning my head to check if I was finishing in a position or finishing in last...I remember a couple of times tripping and then chiding myself for turning my head.
When we turn around to check what other people are doing, we not only lose our focus, we can also lose our balance. We can end up heading in a completely different direction because we see someone else doing the very thing that we wanted to do, and we choose to either follow them, or we decide to steer well clear of them because we 'cant do as well as them' (even when it's not even the same wave we are riding!).
If I allowed comparison to sneak in to my life each day and take charge, I wouldn't write. I definitely wouldn't tell you about running, and there's no way I would talk about my lifts, personal bests, or the new things I learnt on my latest run. What I have learned though, in the process of letting go, is that others actually benefit from what I learn just as much as I do. Other people are encouraged through my stories as I tell them... And while it's hard for me to put my life on the page some days, I am consistently encouraged in return with whatever words I have scraped from the bottom of the jar one day, became the start for someone to change the trajectory of their life.
We don't know our own influence. We won't be in position to influence if we are always measuring our success against the achievements of others. People are always watching, seeing how we handle accomplishment and defeat. Our kids are assessing our attitudes, strangers are looking in...we have the chance to choose what people see on the surface, fake it on social media, but what matters most is when no one else is watching; the decisions you make when it's just you, that set your focus and help you run your own race. Those are the choices that matter, and when you cross the line, do you want to see your goal at the end, or the person in the lane next door?
I know what I would choose.