This one is a repeat from this time last year, but I feel the same sentiment applies for all of us.
Alright guys, bear with me on this one. I’m still trying to sort through it all, so if it doesn’t make sense, that’s okay, because it doesn’t make sense in my mind right now.
Sometimes I feel like I get trapped in the state of comparing myself to others. I don’t know why I am so competitive, but I am, and I am competitive in ALL aspects of my life. When I’m running, I’m competing with my last best time. It’s hard for me to ever just enjoy the run because I’m keeping the score in my mind. After a knee injury, I was sidelined for several months, and now that I’m back out there, I’m having to start with Couch to 5k. I did couch to 5k about three years ago when I first started running. I feel slow and frustrated. I ran a half marathon, darn it! I should be flying in this run, my imaginary long hair flowing behind me, and my distance still 13 miles. But now, I’m starting over, I’m slow, and my knee still has to be babied.
I’m competitive in my work life. I want to be the best teacher that I can be, so I’m doing the same thing as a teacher. I can’t figure out how to inspire so I stay up late thinking about it. I talk to my learners, I’m reflective, I want to grow, but let’s be honest, I want to grow faster! I don’t have time to waste, and I want to be the best now. Sometimes I forget that I’ve only been teaching three years. This is my fourth. No, I’m not teacher of the year, but geeze, I need time before I can be that good.
As a writer, well, that’s the worst.
Writing a novel, from start to finish, isn’t the hard part. I’ve done that before (five times to be exact). The hard part comes with revision, with making the novel worth reading, with sharing it with other people. This part of the process is taking me longer than expected. I thought I would be done by now. I thought that I would have been published by now. I’ve been writing for years, why am I not where I thought I would be? I see people like Veronica Roth and Christopher Paolini and my mind says that I’m running behind. But it isn’t just my competitive nature that gets in the way.
Often, I find myself comparing what I have to what others have. I HATE IT WHEN I DO THIS! Seriously. When I catch myself thinking these kinds of thoughts, I immediately scold myself. That is not the kind of person that I want to be. It’s one thing to be competitive with myself, it’s another all together for me to let jealousy have a place in my heart. I refuse to allow that.
So, here is where I stand on this issue, after a long week (yes, I realize it’s only Wednesday, but I’m being serious here) and a lot of thinking on the matter. If I preach the growth mindset life to my learners, then I must practice what I preach.
As a runner: I will get faster and I will build up stamina. Slowly, and without more injuries. I want to be able to run for many years to come (ask all the people I work with, they know when I’m not running).
As a teacher: I will do my best. I will be reflective and grow as much as I can. I will take advice and feedback from those who have been teaching longer than me. Most importantly, I will ask my learners. I will show them what growth mindset looks like because I will practice it.
As a writer: I will enjoy the process, even if it takes forever. I can’t imagine a life where I’m not writing, even if that life would be easier. I will keep getting up early, I will keep trying my hardest. I will continue to get feedback, to go to workshops, to develop the skills that I need in order to be the best writer that I can be.
And as human being: I will not allow jealousy to take root in my heart. I will be happy for those who have more than me, and I will do what I can to help those who don’t have what I have.
The Key is in the Growth.
My challenge to you: If you are a compare-er, a person who looks for validation in others or in beating yourself, remember to enjoy the process. Remember to move forward and grow.