Recently a client (let’s call her Andrea) commented to me that she accomplished a 25 km bike ride along a local recreational trail. She was so happy and felt incredibly accomplished, as the turnaround spot is at the very top of a very long and grueling hill. She proudly posted a comment about this on her facebook page to share her success! She told me her joy was so short lived as right after her post she noticed 2 other women posted they did 80 and 100km respectively on the same day. Andrea felt so defeated, fearing that her progress was too slow and was asking me what the point was?
I quickly responded, saying the other 2 had likely been riding longer, maybe had better quality bikes and maybe had more spare time than she has to invest in training. All of these are factors in someone’s result. This is exactly why we need to stop looking at other peoples’ goals as a marker for our own success. Andrea started riding in late spring of this year. She has young children and runs a business. She has been giving her all to improving her fitness level and health, and I thought how sad is it that her joy was deflated the moment she saw others do more than her.
Goals are a personal thing. Yes, sometimes we join a group to complete a goal together. But still, each person sets out on their own path to accomplish what they set ahead for themselves. I’m sure the other 2 gals have no idea that their successes that day negatively affected Andrea’s purpose or confidence. And they likely would have encouraged her to keep pushing forward. To not give up. Because they likely too were in her shoes when they were within the first few months of a new challenge.
This was such a clear reminder to me that we always need to put in our best effort when working on accomplishing our goals. We need to keep it in perspective of where we began, where we are going, and to celebrate every accomplishment along the way.
We also have to remember that there are always people ahead and behind us. Don’t be afraid to aspire towards some of those ahead of you, and don’t let their accomplishments devalue your own. Remember as well, to look back, giving support and encouragement to those who aren’t as far along as you are. You know how they feel because you’ve been there. It’s great to accomplish goals. It’s great to feel successful, but most of us start with humble beginnings. And, thanks to Lao Tzu we know a journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step.