Finishing Upright and Under Your Own Power

It takes grit and determination to finish some things.  Yes, we all like to win and be competitive, but sometimes the object is to finish. I hadn’t really understood this until I had a close friend put this into context for me.

I was at an event recently where I introduced my friend, Heidi, quite an accomplished triathlete, to some of my running friends.  As they began asking me running questions, I turned and introduced Heidi as the aforementioned athlete.  She handled my intro with grace and style as they oohed and ahhed her presence.

“(Being a triathlete) just means I finish upright and under my own power.”

Great words, for lots of reasons, from such a gracious competitor.  She found a way to quickly be eye to eye with the other runners.  No one was made to feel less or more important.  They all suddenly were at ease and the conversation became friendly and kind. And of value to all as well as welcoming to anyone listening.

While my intent was to promote her skills (justifiably, she has been running, biking and swimming competitively in countless events for over 20 years), I did put her in a spot when it came to meeting new athletes.  She wanted them to be comfortable and so did she. Beyond the words she spoke it was her approach and attitude toward the people around her that was so uplifting.

“Finishing upright and under your own power,” isn’t just about a race.  It is about leveling your eyes to look at others straight on, to be kind, to be gracious.  As Heidi proved, the conversation wasn’t about her accomplishment, it was about the others’ interest in her sports and being willing to share as an equal.  Too many times we pontificate to others from a position of power, just because we can.  But if we took a moment to think of them instead of us, as Heidi did, then we might just have more substantive and worthwhile conversations.

Thanks, Heidi, for reinforcing my own axiom, It’s Not About You, even better and with more grace than I demonstrated.


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