Last week I was nearing the end of a group workout, and as I was finishing a sprint to walk back inside for the remainder of the workout, I turned around to find my friend Shamon sitting on the curb outside. My first reaction was that she was hurt, and as I jogged over to her I immediately saw big alligator tears. Me: “Are you okay?”
She struggled to respond through the tears…
Shamon: “I can’t keep up with you guys. I’m not good enough.”
Oh no. SHE will finish. SHE is capable. SHE is enough. I, along with two other lovelies, grabbed her by the hand, pulled her up from the curb, and together we stayed outside to finish the workout. This gesture was nothing extraordinary in my mind – I simply stayed with her to let her know that she could make it to the end. AND SHE DID. Rather than comparing her speed to others, we focused on HER and HER alone, and she finished with a smile on her face. And tears. And more smiles. And more tears.
The response from Shamon, though, has been pretty remarkable. The next day she showed up with the most amazing thank-you card jam packed with warm, heartfelt, loving words. I ugly cried a time or two, and I’ve read it several times over and over in the last week. That simple moment (all of 3 minutes) was so impactful for two main reasons:
1- I sought out to prove to her that she was capable of finishing. AND SHE DID.
2- Her previous insecurity of COMPARISON has greatly diminished.
Comparison. Why do we all compare our personal progress to the progress of others around us? We compare houses and cars and physique and fitness capability. The list is endless. We mindlessly set ourselves into a trap of feeling that we’re not good enough when we constantly compare ourselves to other people. I see Shamon work hard every single day, whether I'm working out next to her or whether I'm training her in class. She’s currently on her very own weight loss journey. That particular day she was finishing last and struggling to keep up with the crowd, and naturally she became discouraged and wanted to give up. I’m a high school teacher and a coach, and motivating others is something that drives me. But little did I know that this particular gesture would offer such a significant return on investment.
I AM INSPIRED. I’m inspired to keep showing others that they, too, are capable of achieving anything they want. We have got to take our comparison tendencies and throw ‘em out! And look, I understand that it’s natural to compare progress. If I can do 5 chin-ups and the gal next to me can do 10 – the very act of comparison is right in front of my face. BUT – it’s what I choose to DO with that comparison that will either have a positive or negative effect on my mental mindset. If I tell myself that she’s better than I am because she can do more chin-ups than me, then I’ve set myself up for disappointment. RATHER, how about I let that number motivate me to work harder so that I can reach 10 pull-ups, too? That’s empowerment. That’s how it’s done.
If the act of comparing yourself to others keeps you from joining a gym, STOP IT. Join today.
If the act of comparing yourself to others keeps you from putting on a pair of shorts due to cellulite, STOP IT. Wear ‘em today.
If the act of comparing yourself to others keeps you from sitting at a pool with your friends, STOP IT. Grab your sunblock and go!
These things take much practice. We've got to get to a point where we are okay with ourselves and the skin that we're in. That doesn't mean that you stop setting goals or become complacent. It just means that you LOVE and ACCEPT yourself, and the result of THAT yields confidence. When you're confident in yourself, comparison will eventually fade away. When you're confident, results start happening.
Comparison is crap. It hinders our abilities and mistreats our confidence. Possessing confidence will generate wings that help you SOAR. Fly high, baby – and leave that comparison at the door.
Engage. Empower. Elevate. #EEEtribe