Wednesday, June 29, 2011
The Gift of Mediocrity
I recently read something that changed my perspective on my below average athletic ability. (I know this is the second post in a row inspired by another blogger. What can I say, I am easily influenced?) I follow a blog called Run Faster Mommy, and her most recent post was about the Spartan Race. You know, one of those races where you leap over fire and crawl through mud all while being attacked by huge dudes with foam sticks. And I was really inspired by her post. . .but not to sign up for this kind of race. Are you crazy? Any race where I might have to "stop, drop, and roll" is out! I was inspired by her honesty about not wanting to participate in something where she might not excel. I thought it was a great post and I also realized what a completely foreign concept that was to me. I never worry about winning. . .because it is pretty much a given that I will not.
You see, I am mediocre (at best) at almost everything. I am not saying this to be self deprecating. I am not fishing for compliments. I am just very aware of my status in this world. I don't have very many first place trophies or blue ribbons around my house. I have a lot of "participant" and "finisher" paraphernalia, but winner? No.
Do I feel bad about my lot in life?? Not really. You see at a very young age I made peace with the fact that I was not going to be number one. I noticed that I was not the smartest (no spelling bee wins for this chick). I was not the funniest or the coolest. Prettiest? Let me put it to you this way, I babysat on Prom night (ok, you can feel a little bad for me about that one). And I was by far not the most athletic. When you are the chubby, uncoordinated girl you don't get picked first for dodge ball. . .ever. But all you superstars out there should not feel bad for me. I now realize my mediocrity gave me a license to be less afraid of failure because failure was something I was quite comfortable with. It was not a disgracefully event but an opportunity to learn and get better.
This does not mean I don't try or that I am not competitive. No, quite the opposite. It is just my definition of success is not first (or second or third) place. . .it is completion. I work hard and I do the best that I can do, and then I try to do better the next time. If I were used to winning, I think I would want to keep winning. But since I suck I just go out there and try to suck less every time.
A lot of people seem shocked when they find out I do triathlons and races. They have the perfect, winning, athlete in mind and I don't quite fit that image. I've even heard, "Wow I'd never guess you were a runner." They haven't learned the secret yet. Us average folks can get out there too. . .we just have to embrace our mediocrity (because Lord knows if I waited to be perfect to join in I'd miss out on all the fun)!