Many of us seem to forget just how hard it is to change ourselves, yet when we are trying to change others, we expect them to change in a moment. We often get so frustrated when people we love, trust and admire just don’t see the way. They abuse themselves with pain and continually keep getting stuck in the same cycle, day after day. No matter what we do, they never can seem to change.
There were so many times in my life where I sought validation for the things that I did. Looking for praise, the likes, the shares and the kudos all make up my self-worth from time to time and when they stopped coming in, I felt like giving up. What is the point? Nobody is reading, listening or watching. Nobody cares what I do, why bother trying?
Nobody should care what you do.
As I observe the most fabulous people on this planet, as I watch those around me that I admire the most, as I soak in the behaviours of our greatest athletes, musicians and leaders, they all have the same thing in common: they don’t give a shit about what you or I think, they run their own race.
It was last summer when I ran a 5k race that I was able to put it all together in my head. I started at the start line, and while I decided that I was going to set my own pace, I found that I began to pass other people. I didn’t really care who they were or how fast they were going, I just needed to get past them, for me. I needed more space in which to run, so runner after runner I passed them by. I was running at a high pace, one that I knew that I could keep up. I felt great, and as the kilometres were passing by, deep down I thought that this would be my best run yet.
That was until I caught up to the 5th runner of the pack.
At about the four-kilometre mark of my five-kilometre run, I came up to an older gentleman. He was running at a high pace, but a little slower than mine. So, I began to pass him. All of a sudden, he started to speed up. We could each see the finish line, so we knew the end was near. As he sped up, so did I, I was running a pace that I was not accustomed to and since it was so late in the run, I began to tire very rapidly. I couldn’t keep this pace up and so, I had to let the man go. At this point, I was exhausted and so, others began to pass me. I was tanked. For about 45 seconds, I was running someone else’s race, and it cost me. While I finished the race with a great result, I realized then, that had I ran my own race, I probably would have done much better.
It wasn’t long that I realized that all of my life I have been chasing someone else’s race. That to be truly content with my life, I have to keep doing what makes me happy, what builds me and if others want to follow along, great! If not, that’s great too! I am just too busy running to turn my head back and see who may be chasing me and who isn’t.
We often measure our self-worth by the impact that we make on our world. Instead of inspiring change within ourselves, we try so hard to inspire change in others as the validation that we are doing well with our lives. We seek the validation of others as a measuring stick of the impact we are making, but all we are doing is creating fans. Fans who are merely following your race, cheering you on. But the moment you fall behind, those fans will disappear.
Run your own race. Don’t worry about all of the others running theirs. If it so happens that you inspire another to follow you along, great! If not, keep on running. Life is a short race, and we cannot concern ourselves with the pace at which others are running theirs. Provided that you are not preventing others from running their own race, just do whatever it is you need to do to run yours. Put the blinders on and keep running.
You only have one race to run, set your own pace, and it’s entirely up to you if you win or lose. You cannot lose if you are racing against yourself and you cannot win if you are continually chasing the person ahead of you.