July 19, 2022

Are you successful because you are crushing the competition?

Or because you are doing something really hard and not giving up?

I have learning to enjoy running (something that I used to hate).  And what I love most about running in group races is that they really know how to measure success - showing up and finishing!

One weekend I ran the 5k DC Superhero Race at Six Flags America with a few friends.  It's an example that holds true for every running event. 

 We all finished at different times. We all got medals and bananas at the finish line.

The person that finished this 5k first ran 3.1 miles in
19 minutes and 5 seconds.

The last person to finish crossed the line after
one hour and thirty five minutes.

I am inspired by both of them!

Jen Taylor

Lessons from a 5k Race About How to Measure Success

Here's why I love running races:
The person that finished first ran 3.1 miles in
19 minutes and 5 seconds.
The last person to finish crossed the line after
one hour and thirty five minutes.

I am inspired by both of them!

6 minute miles?  WHOA: I'm inspired by what is possible.
(and therefore... what crazy thing is possible for me?)

90 minutes to walk 3 miles?  WOW:  I'm inspired because you showed up and you didn't quit.
(and therefore, what challenge seems too hard but is actually possible if I just keep going long enough?)

I heard people talk about beating their personal records for time.
I also heard people say "I never knew I could walk that far."

One girl ran in high-heeled boots!

Measure Success Based On Your Own Personal Goals

Not how everyone else is doing

We criticize participation trophies and the
"everyone gets a prize" mentality.
But, really....
I like medals (and bananas).
And... showing up and finishing is
worthy of a celebration!

James Clear, author of Atomic Habits, is a big supporter of "showing up."   Clear says,

If you can't learn the basic skill of showing up, then you have little hope of mastering the fine details."  James Clear, Atomic Habits

There are different ways to measure success

You can measure success by doing something faster, longer, or for the first time!  Things like going a longer distance than you normally do; or by pushing your pace a bit faster or by doing something that felt impossible but you tried it anyway. 

If you have a bad day and cramp up and need to walk, or trip and fall on the course, or push through a migraine or a thunderstorm. You can measure success by how you overcame adversity and pushed through something that felt impossible.

Either way, you deserve a medal.

Success is not measured by the outcome. It's the process that you go through.
It's the story that you tell yourself along the way. 

And it all needs to be celebrated.
Whatever you're going through right now - celebrate it.

Crushing it?  AWESOME. Keep Going!
Does the finish line feel miles away?  YEP.  Keep going!

High-fives and medals for showing up and doing you when things are easy AND especially when things feel hard.

Journal Exercise for Measuring Success

Consider the Firsts and the Lasts

What have you recently done for the FIRST time?
Where are you winning and feeling successful?

When was the LAST time that you kept going through a struggle?
What is hard for you but you want to keep going?

Hold space for all of those things and (literally) draw yourself a medal.
You've earned it!

P.S.  I recently re-opened my business Facebook Page.  If you want to follow me there, that might be fun - it's stuff like this but more often. 🙂

How did this work for you? 

Let me know if these techniques worked for you by leaving a comment below. 

If you found this helpful, subscribe to the journaling mailing list for more tips and prompts and get another simple, but effective technique that will help you get the most out of every month of the year. 

About the Author

Jen Taylor, LCSW-C, RPT-S is an EMDR Approved Consultant and Certified Journal to the Self Instructor.  She is a therapist specializing in complex trauma, an international play therapy teacher and a published writer of multiple play therapy chapters.  Jen is the creator of the original 2017 Play Therapy Summit and many other innovative programs for mental health professionals.  Jen uses writing therapy, play therapy and expressive arts for her clients and for other mental health professionals so they can lead more joyful and meaningful lives.  Jen encourages people to try new things and create daily habits that allow for incremental progress towards previously unimaginable results.   Jen is a travel enthusiast, an avid reader, and a girl who lifts weights and runs for fun.  

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