Something you don’t know about me: In a previous life I was a pretty serious runner. Competing and training consumed me the way blogging does now. But, at some point in my life I had to give it up and put my energy elsewhere. There are lots of reasons why I am not a professional runner today. Here are a few:
- I have a bad knee
- My feet hurt too badly after I run
- My ankle never healed correctly when I shattered it falling down a hill
- My coach gave up on me
- The new girls below me stole my thunder
- The team didn’t like me
- I was overlooked for major competitions
- I worked too hard
- I wanted to spend more time with my friends
- I knew I’d never make the Olympics anyway
- I needed to focus on my schoolwork
- I didn’t have time to train
- It was too cold to run in the mornings
- I was too tired at the end of my day
- Running on snow and ice is dangerous
- My coach didn’t understand how to train me
- The trainers couldn’t tape my ankles tight enough
- I was tired of going through physical therapy
- It was taking over my life
- The program I was in wasn’t good enough
- No one listened to me
- I hated being the anchor of the relay
- There was too much travel
- The team was too big
- The team was too small
- Other people were built for it better than I was
- I couldn’t drop down to 110 like I needed to
- It was too hard to build muscle
- Running in front of lights scared me
- Banked tracks scared me
- I wanted to run the 800, but they needed me on the 400
- Others had more experience
- Other girls had stronger names
- I was splitting my time between track and soccer
- My teammates thought I was washed up
- I wasn’t allowed to alter my workouts for my body
- My body rejected it
- I didn’t have time for anything else
- Other people ruined it for me
Or maybe I’m the reason.
Amber Naslund hit the nail on the head yesterday with her post It’s not them. It’s you. The difference between people who do and those that don’t are the lengths they’re willing to go to achieve their goal and to push themselves. It’s about committing to losing the excuses and to keep moving forward even though you know sometimes you’re going to fail. On the track they teach you never to look behind you. Because when you do, you immediately break your stride. You lose your focus and switch your attention to something completely outside your control. And then you psych yourself out.
Is that person gaining on you? Is their stride stronger than yours? Should you match their movements? Watch their breathing. Are they as tired? Shit. I’m done.
Pretty soon you’re running their race instead of yours. Your stride is what makes you unique. It’s something you develop and what carries you through. When you copy someone else’s blogging style because “it’s made them famous”, you’re copying their stride. When you design your smart phone to look like everyone else’s, you’re copying their stride. When you set yourself up to offer the exact same services as your competitor, you’re copying their stride. That’s not how races are won.
Screw trying to mimic everyone else’s stride and run your race your way, even if it means sometimes you’ll drop the baton at some point. Sometimes you need to in order to rework things and make yourself stronger. That’s how you turn pro. You focus on your race, you better your race and you run like you’re the only one on the track. Because then the only person you’re competing with is yourself.
About the Author
Lisa Barone co-founded Outspoken Media in 2009 and served as Chief Branding Officer until April 2012.