I saw a commercial about the upcoming Olympic games recently and an embarrassing memory from college popped into my head. Here’s the CliffsNotes version: During my senior year of college, because I had already completed almost all of my core classes to graduate, I filled my schedule with mostly electives. And so, with no prior background in or knowledge of the sport, I decided to sign up for Coach Charles (Chick) Johnson’s Gymnastics 101 class for no other reason than it sounded like “fun.”
I assumed we’d be doing cartwheels, flips, and other tumbling exercises on the floor mat and that would be it. I was a high school cheerleader so I thought “no problem-I got this!” All was going fine until the second day of class when the coach introduced us to the balance beam and told us we’d each be doing a simple beam routine of jumps, kicks, and cartwheels for class credit. The first thing that popped into my head was “I’ve got good core strength, I can do this.” which was immediately followed by “There ain’t no way in h$#% I’m doing that!”
As the class circled the beam Coach Chick told us that all Olympic beams are 4 inches wide and 16 feet, 5 inches, long and 4 feet off of the floor and that upper-level beam routine lasted 1 minute and 30 seconds. Gulp. Needless to say, this information sealed the deal and by day 3 I had dropped the class and signed up for Art History instead! End of story. My gymnastics “career” was over before it had even started.
The Best of the Best
St. Louis just hosted the Olympics gymnastics team trials. To say that it was a big deal would be an understatement. Every gymnast, budding gymnast, and wannabe gymnast was there to watch because four-time Olympic champion Simone Biles was vying for her place on the women’s national team. To make it even more exciting for the fans in attendance she had just recently claimed her seventh U.S. title. She truly is the best of the best in her sport and many people wanted to see her in the flesh!
If you ask one of my sons “Who currently holds the title for being the best in men’s sports?” he would say NHL player Connor McDavid, soccer player Lionel Messi, MLB player Mike Trout, and NBA player LeBron James. They’ve won awards, they’ve won titles, and are, no doubt, outrageously famous. There’s no doubt that these players, along with Simone Biles, are some of the best of the best too.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with striving to be the best. In fact qualities like resiliency, grit, fearlessness, and determination are all inspirational. But being the “best” at something is often fleeting. Someone will eventually replace you.
His or Her Success is Not My Failure
If you look up the word best in the dictionary this is what you’ll see:
superlative of GOOD: excelling all others
When I read this definition I get stuck on the word excelling. If you look up this word in the dictionary it means to show superiority and surpass others. Sports aside, I don’t want to show superiority, one-up, or surpass anyone. When it comes to living day-to-day, and in relationships with others, excelling brings up visions of competing and I don’t want to compete with anyone. To take it further, competing can evoke a spirit of jealousy (and jealousy looks good on no one). Competing means someone wins and someone loses. And, no matter what, another person’s success does not mean I’m a failure (or vice versa).
Being the Best at Being You
Being the best at something doesn’t always manifest itself on the outside for all the world to see. Nope. More often than not being the best is an “inside job”. That’s right. Being the best starts on the inside of you. Your size, your sex, your education, your bank account, your name, or your talents really aren’t all that important in the big scheme of things.
Let’s you and I be the BEST at the basics. Let’s do things like:
- Show Confidence. Let’s be confident in our own skin. No matter our size or shape, let’s be happy with who we are.
- Feel Worthy. Let’s know that we are worthy of being loved, accepted, helped, happy, and succeeding.
- Be OK With Imperfection. Let’s accept that we’re perfectly imperfect (like everyone else). Let’s realize with certainty that perfection is unattainable.
- Put Our Blinders on. Let’s resist the urge to compare ourselves to others. Let’s stay in our own lane and carry out the plans and purpose we were created for.
- Embrace Our Uniqueness. Let’s recognize our one-of-a-kindness. Let’s march to the beat of our own drum.
- Have a Voice. Let’s refuse to be a wallflower and decide to speak up for what we believe in.
- Be Where Our Feet Are. Let’s be present (over perfect) for those we love.
- Maintain Balance. Let’s create boundaries in our life. Let’s say “no” to the unimportant things so we can say “yes”’ to important things like our health, our family and our relationships.
- Accept Help. Let’s drop our pride and accept help from others. We can only do so much and people who love us are more than willing to give us a hand.
- Embrace Failures. Let’s absolutely know that failure is not fatal and that it can be a great teacher.
- Be the Light. Let’s be a light to others. Let’s set an example. Let’s walk the walk and not just talk the talk.
- Mind Our Social. Let’s monitor our social activity. Let’s ignore the social media “scorecard” and live authentically.
- Forgive. Let’s forgive and not harbor offense. Let’s recognize that where unforgiveness roams bitterness follows.
- Be Responsible. Let’s take responsibility for our misdeeds, mistakes, and missteps.
- Have Gratitude. Let’s live in a state of gratitude. Let’s recognize all that we’ve been blessed with. Let’s say thank you for answered (and unanswered) prayers.
- Show Kindness. Let’s help others and be generous with what we have.
- Slow Down. Let’s decide not to rush through life. Each day only happens once. Let’s enjoy it while it’s here.
- Stop Worrying. Let’s decide that worrying is useless. Let’s recognize that stewing about the past or catastrophizing about the future will do no good and only ruin today.
- Have Self Love. Let’s adopt F.L.Y. as our mantra: First Love Yourself. Others will follow.
- Know That We Are a Work of Art. Most of all, let’s recognize that we are each a masterpiece created by The Master and we’ve been entrusted with gifts and talents to be used to bring value to the world.
Being the best version of yourself isn’t a competition and it’s not something you do for a season or two. It’s something you do forever. You won’t win an award or earn a medal, but you will affect your life and the lives around you positively. You’ll experience peace, joy, and happiness…and that’s what being the best of the best is all about!
What did you think of this blog? Do you have any additional things you’d add to the list of things about being the best at being you? I’d love to hear from you. Drop me a line and let me know your thoughts.
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