To Be Great

 

Everyone wants to be good at something. No one likes to just be “average” at things they put hard work into. “Great” is also a relative term depending on who you are talking to. Why am I brining all of this up? eh. It’s just something that has been on my mind recently. I do NOT write this to get sympathy, compliments, or pity. It comes from the heart, and my hope is that it is relatable and may help someone else with feelings they may be experiencing in their life.

As a teenager, I was good at many things. I was an excellent athlete, winning numerous awards all through high school. I was a good student, I made A’s with an occasional B. I was president of clubs, sang in a vocal ensemble (I am NOT a soloist!) and had some friends.

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Lately, as an adult,I have been struggling with feelings of doubt, that I am not “great” at any one thing in particular. I am an average runner, average blogger, have an average life. Don’t get me wrong, I feel very BLESSED, but just don’t feel like I excel in much anymore. I think some of my feelings are stemming from my foot injury. I feel like my “running shape” I have worked so hard to get into is slowly slipping away and by time I get it back it will be spring again. I WANT to be a good distance runner, but it’s just not natural to me, and will probably never be in the cards. I will race you in the 100 meter dash any day of the week, but that’s where my confidence ends in my ability to be a great runner.

After being frustrated with me averageness for awhile, I tried to think of some ways to make myself feel better, or encourage myself. The first thing I tried to remind myself is that greatness takes time. In this day and age we have so many quick fixes and short cuts to be able to do things, but they don’t lead to greatness. 8 minute abs and learning to do a new hobby in three easy steps may get you on the right track, but it won’t make you great.

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“I’m great at hunting for frogs, mom!”

In order to master something, you have to practice, you have to work at it, and many times it will demand all you have to give and then some. Even after you have done everything you think you possibly can do, you will still need to do more. Finally, when you think you are finally great, think again, because in a few years you might look back and think your journey was only just beginning.

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If you look at people who are great at something, they have been doing it a long time. Ryan Hall. Michel Jordan. Thomas Kincade. Drew Brees. Michael Jordan was even cut from the first basketball team he tried out for in school!

While natural ability does have something to do with it, these people had to work for what they have achieved. We are so used to stomping our feet and wanting instant gratification we can’t stand it when we are just mediocre and we look over and the person next to us is exceling. (Or at least I can’t.)

This leads me to comparison. Which is a trap I fall into all. the. time. I am the epitome of competitive, and I want to win at everything I do. Even a fun church game of flag football. Oh no. I. must. win. This trait of mine has been quite the helper in my life but also quite the hindrance. I have been known to beat myself up when I am not as good as the next guy, or when it takes me too long to get something right. I also have a tendency to give up and not want to do something if I can’t be excellent at it.

Can anyone relate to any of this? I sure hope so.

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So, what did I gather from this deep look within myself…

1.) I don’t have to be great at everything

2.) Greatness is relative, so try not to compare

3.) People don’t become great overnight, so keep working

4.) Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard (my new favorite Tim Tebow quote)

5.) You never know who thinks you are inspiring when you think you are just average

So, as I look in the mirror and tell myself these things when I feel less than great, I will also say:

When the world says, “Give up,”
Hope whispers, “Try it one more time.”

After all, everyone has talent, it’s just a matter of finding it. I may have already found all the talent I am going to in this life, or maybe I have yet to uncover my potential. I have faith that God isn’t finished with me yet and the best is yet to come, I just have to be patient and keep working hard.

QOTD: –Have you ever had feelings like this before? What did you do?

             – What is something you are really good at?

Comments

  1. #3 sums it up.

    I went from a 27:53 5k 1 year ago to a 22:14 last week. I run almost everyday and even had a stress fracture setback. Still, I keep running and I only run for me. Why? Because, I believe I can still be great. The moment you doubt, is the moment you give up.

    Hang in there.

  2. The feelings that you’re expressing are certainly normal feelings to have. Doubt can so easily creep in, and we can’t necessarily prevent the initial thought. We can control if we fan the flame of doubt, or if we deal with it and push it away so the “fire” doesn’t grow bigger. Maybe you could re-define what “great” means, because I guarantee you are great at things:) Even if you aren’t the absolute best at something, you can still be great!

  3. I can relate soooo much to this post. I am very hard on myself and very competitive. A single bad race (like the Disney Wine & Dine half last month) can send me into tailspins of doubt and frustration. For me it helps to remember that runnning, or whatever it is I am frustrated about, is fun and that I like to do it. It is easy to lose sight of that.

    Things I’m great at? Budgeting, planning, and spreadsheets! :-P

  4. I love when Tony Horton (P90X) says “Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither was your body”. To excel in anything takes hard work and dedication.
    I don’t know that there is anything that I am “really” good or great at. But I am “pretty good” at a lot of things. And that’s okay with me.
    And you think the self doubt is hard to deal with now. Just wait until you have kids. I find myself constantly doubting decisions and choices when it comes to the kids. But I just have to remember that I am a good mama and my kids are happy, healthy, and well adjusted and that is what matters.
    What do I want to be great at? I want to be a great wife, mama, and child of God.
    Take a deep breath, girl. You are an inspiration to your readers and I think you’re pretty darn great :)

  5. I can definitely relate to this. In middle/ high school, I was the top dog. I earned good grades, I was a big athlete at my school, and I got big roles in musicals. However, now I feel that I am just average.

    I am so competitive that it is sickening, especially with running. On Saturday after my race, I tried to put on the face of “yay, I am happy with my time” but I knew Meghann, Ben and Danielle could see right through it.

    Yes I was happy with what I was able to achieve, but I also knew that I could have done better. Then when I saw everyone else’s times rolling in, I felt upset. I know that I can run those times, but with my two injuries this year, I am a lot slower than I used to be.

    I’m learning to stop looking at everyone else and just run for myself. Run against my own PR’s and not to care about other people’s times. It is difficult, but it is something that I am challenging myself as I begin to train for Disney in January.

    I am not them. I am me. And I am great in my own way. :)

  6. I loved your post especially the section about comparing yourself to others. I fail in this all the time. Luckily God has given me Husband, who can’t figure out why I would compare myself to anyone. He often reminds me that there’s no one else like me, with my sense of humor, drive to work hard and succeed and passion for my family. I can’t compare myself to any thing else because there’s nothing to compare me to.

  7. I appreciate your honesty so much – especially since I’ve been feeling moments of doubt myself! This year has really put me in a spiral – especially emotionally. Dealing with the stress of my job last year, the feeling of relief when I resigned from it – but now the uncertainty of where I’m supposed to be in the future. It’s hard – but knowing God has a plan for me helps!

    I’m very similar and compare myself to others a lot – which just leads to more doubt (especially on the running front). I’m so proud of the other bloggers I follow who run amazing races – but I can’t help but think I’ll never get there myself. However – we have to remember that we are our own person! I can only do what’s best for me! Hang in there – you have so much to be proud of! Know that you are making an impact on others – even when it may not feel like it :)

  8. I’m sorry you’re struggling with this! I’ve always been cool with being average because unless you’re in the top .0000001% of something, there will always be people who will be better than you. All you can do is try your best!

    I also think happiness is much more important than excelling at something. So as long as running makes you happy, keep it up! :)

    And I really hope your foot heals soon!

  9. When I was younger, I was pushed to excel. Granted, a lot of what I did came naturally to me, so it wasn’t really an effort. When things started to get harder, I felt like I had to choose what I wanted to be good at, but I don’t think I ever really had that DRIVE to be the best. I WANTED to be a great cheerleader, but that would have required tumbling, and I didn’t have the drive to REALLY push myself to learn. Spirit-wise, I had it in the bag. ;) I WANTED to be Miss America, but I didn’t have the DRIVE to really excel at my talent/body, etc. (best I did in the locals was miss congeniality…lol) . Thing is, I know that I can excel at something if I put my mind to it. I think I am just lazy, and that is the unfortunate truth. These days, I am into making cakes and all sorts of fun crafts. I’m good, but not GREAT. I think I can be GREAT, but do not have the time to dedicate to making myself great. All that takes some sort of sacrifice, and I think I just want to do a little bit of everything…what’s that saying, “jack of all trades but master of none?” I feel kind of like that right now, and I’m actually ok with it for the time being… :)

  10. Read “outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell which discusses what makes people truly great. It looks at greatness across most disciplines from great musicians, computer scientists, elite athletes. According to the book, it takes 10,000 hours of practicing one skill to achieve greatness. It’s a very interesting read!

  11. Great post!! Coming off an injury myself, I can relate. It has taken me a year to fully heal, and I am still not back to where I was pre-injury (I’m still not running and started walking in races this year once I got the okay from my doc) and doubt continually creeps in. But even outside of running, it is so easy to fall into the comparison trap. It’s hard not to compare yourself to others or even against where you think you should be.

  12. I am sure many people can relate to your post. It is easy to get caught up in being great and comparing yourself to others, but it is important to remember that no matter how good you are at something, there will always be someone better. My point is that at the end of the day you should do things for you and not compare yourself to others. Today I may PR and my friends will all be happy for me and may even call me “great” runner, but at the end of the day no one will remember what my best time was but me. No one will remember what my highest test grade was but me. And there will be others who run faster or make better grades and so on. So I run, I make good grades, I have goals for PR’s, etc-but I do it for me and to be the best me as I can be. I just feel like when I compared myself to others at things I felt I was “great” at, I was always disappointed in life instead of being happy with what I had accomplished.
    I hope your foot heals soon so you can get back to running:)

  13. I’ve been thinking like this a lot recently… but it is my first year of teaching… so yeah the feeling of greatness, not there :) I think it comes with the territory of doing something that is ongoing. If we are doing something that is ongoing, we will never “finish” learning, growing, or competing with ourselves. It is hard to be at that spot. I am jealous of artists that can finish and admire their accomplishment. I think that is while I like crafting so much. At the end of the day, I can say I finished something, and enjoy that feeling. Now if I just had time for it! Hope you feel better soon, and try not to kill your body striving to be great. We all need rest, teachers and runners alike. God gave us a day of rest for a reason ;)

    • you are so right about the end result!
      and the first year of teaching is SO HARD. hang in there, next year will be SO much better b/c you won’t be creating everything from scratch!

  14. I’m so sorry you’ve been feeling this way, friend! :0( Most of us have felt this way at one point or another.

    If it makes you feel any better, I think you are GREAT at a lot of things. I’ve been talking with my Jr. Higher’s at church about being “fearfully and wonderfully made” and how each of us has different God-given talents. You my friend, are very talented and you excel in many areas – just remember that you have a lot of people that love you and think you are great.

    “The Lord will send a blessing on EVERYTHING you put your hand to. The Lord your God will bless you in the land he is giving you.” Deuteronomy 28:8

    I love you, my friend! :0)

  15. I am new to your blog but I just wanted to say I relate *so much* to this. Despite my best efforts I will be an average student *again* this semester. I’m an average writer. I’m an average worker. I have an average job. I mean I’m really strong for a girl but put me against a couple of seasoned powerlifters and…I’m average or below it.

    But hey. What does it really matter anyway? If I’m on my deathbed am I going to care about whether or not I was amazing at something in particular….or am I going to be worried about soaking up every last second of life and my loved ones?

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