Back in February at the Freeze Fest Team Challenge, the first event was a clean ladder. At the second platform, the weight on the bar was 135-lbs, which had a been a PR at the time.
The whistle blew and I was able to do the clean on my first attempt but failed at the hang-clean, which meant I had to start again.
On the second attempt, I got the clean, but was struggling to complete the hang-clean. I dug deep and stuck with it and got the rep.
I bring up the event, not to tout how I powered through, but to be able to mention the fact that standing at the next platform were Keith and Jess, aka Team Honey Badger.
They were complete strangers to me at the time, as so often our competitors are in life. They were watching me struggle and started to vocally cheer me on as I went for that second attempt.
In reflecting upon the day, I was struck by how Keith and Jess were so quick to celebrate my success without even knowing me.
Training and competing is inherently a very personal experience. Your time and attention is centered around “me, me, me”.
What could I do better?
When am I going to the gym?
What am I going to eat this week?
Why I am sore?
Will I hit a new PR?
That drive and focus is absolutely necessary; but, being able to take off the blinders and see that those around you are accomplishing great things is just as important.
It’s easy to celebrate as spectators the good things – the success and accomplishments – that happen to our friends and families.
We find out via Facebook or text or phone and we happily offer hugs and kisses and congratulatory messages. We send presents or buy the first round.
Like when my sister and her husband recently gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby boy or when my friend Kseniya’s first book got published.
Or Caitlin completing the Ironman Texas triathlon or Kalimba and her son Tyheem competing together as a team in the Gear West Duathlon.
Or Tracy setting new PRs in her first powerlifting meet this past weekend. These are all awesome and deserving of every accolade.
Yet, as the Dakota Games draw near, I am reminded more of Keith and Jess who were able to celebrate the success of their competitors while on the playing field.
We live in a winner-takes-all mentality and so often, in the heat of the race, our fellow athletes become our enemies.
We stare them down, we taunt, we pump our chests and try to intimidate. I understand that it helps us take charge and give it our all if we have a clear foe to defeat.
And I am absolutely gunning for the win in Fargo. I am not showing up to just get my participant ribbon.
However, I believe that I will have a much more rewarding experience if, in the pursuit of the win, I am able to step outside of myself and recognize my competitors and their accomplishments. It goes beyond good sportsmanship.
It’s about putting out the right type of energy and treating your competitor with the respect that you hope to receive in return.
Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles. – Proverbs 24:17
It’s also about recognizing that their success does not diminish your own. The person who is best prepared will win at the end of the day.
And if that happens to be your competitor, than why not acknowledge that accomplishment? Only you can strive to do your best and perform at your highest ability.
They are not a barrier, merely just someone else trying to do the same thing.
I’ve had a lot to celebrate this past week in both my personal and professional life; but only possessing an inward focus is not a satisfying life.
Rather, I find my joy comes from celebrating the success of others. And I am going to take that attitude with me into the heart of the battle.
When the success of another makes your heart sing, your resistance is gone, and your own success soars. – Esther Hicks