I’ve recently taken up distance running. Well, distance running to me is completing a 5K without walking and I am actually getting pretty good at it. However if you ask me if I like running I will reply, “I hate it.” When I was in high school I ran track; I was a sprinter. I ran the 100m as well as the 100m and 300m hurdles. You could compete in four events in a meet and my fourth would usually consist of a team event like the 4 x 100m or 4 x 400m. I embraced the idea of teamwork at an early age, but also knew that I wanted to succeed on my own, hence the individual events. I wanted my success and failures to be because of my efforts, not because of the efforts or lack thereof from another person.
My junior year in track was the best of my four years running in high school. Not only did I beat the records I set the previous year, I collected the most points during the course of the season. Based on all of this information, I figured I was a shoo-in for the girls MVP award that year at our annual banquet dinner. As the night progressed I was really excited to be recognized in a room full of friends and family for my achievements that season. My name was not called for MVP. I was shattered, but kept “Christa-cool” and rolled with the rest of the evening. At 16 years of age I realized that I didn’t have to be great at what I do for the recognition from others, that I could be great for myself. So I continued to do my thing; my senior year of track I continued to kick ass and take names, but I didn’t do it for the team anymore. I did it to show anyone who noticed that I am a bundle of awesomeness whether you choose to acknowledge it or not.
So why reminisce about events from 20+ years ago? I recently read a blog by Kelly Perkins that made me think about my high school life lesson. Kelly talks about a former boss who told her she was successful because he offered her a “real” job compared to the waitressing she had done previously. This really got me thinking about people I’ve known in my life that want to grab any attention that they can, whether it is their achievements or the achievements of others that they’ve “helped”. Sure, there are scenarios where people provide opportunities for their coworkers to thrive in, but the outstanding achievements are usually based upon the effort the employee puts forward, not that they were given the opportunity to succeed. Everyday people are given the opportunity to succeed; many do and many don’t.
I say forget the naysayers and the people that want to drag you down and be the best you can be. Sure, getting noticed and acknowledged for your efforts is totally awesome, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy it myself. Don’t let anyone tell you no. Keep moving forward for yourself, not to be noticed by someone who won’t even remember your name next year.