Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Raise the Bar

Right after graduating from college I thought it would be cool to run a few road races. The running would keep me in shape, and allowed me an outlet to do something competitive, even though the only person I was competing against was really myself.

For years I was my own personal trainer, and did not seek others for advice. I typically would finish right in the middle of the pack for each race. I did learn a little from each race, and eventually checked out a couple of running books at the library. Reading those books gave me a guideline, and did help me raise the bar a little bit, but nothing earth shattering.

Then for fun, I asked the cross country coach at the school I work for if I could run with the cross country team for a few weeks. The coach agreed and even encouraged me to run with them, proclaiming that it was good for the athletes to have another set of eyes and someone to support the athletes besides him.

Little did I know they would teach me a lot more about life then I what I could offer them. They gave me an awareness of where my goals were, and where they could be.

I started out that mid-August in fairly good shape and was running a 5K race at 23:00 minutes. I would finish the month of August running a 5K at 20:00. Which was a gigantic leap in a short amount of time. How did that happen? My bar was raised. By a lot. Metaphorically I was jumping 4feet, when my potential was much higher.

This cross county team supported one another, and kept striving for improvement. More importantly I was taught that running the same mileage at the same pace would keep giving me similar results. This team switched it up, they ran shorter distances at fast tempos, they went very long distances at a very slow pace. They optimized each practice run. I figured out real quickly that I was shooting for an mediocre goal, when I had the ability to run faster than I had ever realized. Funny thing is, these students weren't more gifted or talented than me, they just formed a tribe and worked at their craft to do amazing things.

So are there areas of life that you finish in the middle of the pack? Are you going through those areas alone? Why settle for being average, why raise the bar a few inches, when you have the ability to raise it a few feet! Find a few like minded individuals and watch the bar go higher than you ever imagined!

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