I’ve been leading a running group with my church. And by leading, I don’t mean teaching running. I’m talking about organizing our meeting location, leading discussions, encouraging people to talk and be engaged…that kind of leading. I’m definitely not the fastest but it’s nice been nice knowing that I can run with runners of all levels now.
When I find myself with the advanced, athletic crowd, I often whine and get down in the dumps about where I am NOT. “I can’t do push ups.” “I’m not as skinny as that girl.” “I hate to exercise.” And the list of negative declarations goes on. If this is you, raise your hand (hand raised). The reality is that is not the point of running with the faster kids. You should always run and/or hang out with people who push you to be better. You never want to be the one in the front because it means you have nothing to strive towards.
Last night I ran with the beginner group. I may not have burned as many calories as I would’ve liked or logged my high intensity cardio for the week but I learned a valuable lesson.
My words are much more positive and encouraging with other people than for myself.
“You can do it.”
“One foot in front of the other.”
“It doesn’t matter how fast or slow you’re going, you’re doing it!”
“You’re doing great.”
I truly did believe that he could run 4.5 miles. I knew it was hard for him, but he had determination all over his face. He was going to finish, no matter what. So why did I believe that he could do something that was obviously a challenge for him, but when it comes to myself and my challenges, I have no faith in myself? Why can’t I be encouraging with myself? Why no faith in myself?
Sometimes when we look for encouragement we look in the wrong places. We expect people to give us a hand, to tell us we’re doing great, and to push us. Me. Me. Me. It’s nice when they do it, but it’s not their job.
When you take on the responsibility of motivating others, you’re challenged to lead by example. It makes you want to be better. It doesn’t cripple you and make you feel unworthy, but rather empowers you. When you are looking for inspiration and encouragement for yourself, be that for someone else! When you are looking for generosity from others, be generous first. When you are looking for kindness, be kind first. Whatever you seek in life, be that for someone else.
It’ll come back to you.