Tempering Expectations

As I find myself on the cusp of my next marathon, I find that I am expecting things to go the way I want them to. The danger in expecting something to go your way is finding when they don’t, they tend to demoralize you. Some people are able to spin their experience positively while there are many others who can’t. They quit, give up, and raise the white flag in surrender to this arduous task before them. I’ve experienced this multiple times. I was the kind of student who if I wasn’t able to get it right the first time I would just admit defeat. I would throw in the towel and assume all my work would come out the same way, especially if I worked hard on that project or assignment and it still didn’t come out the way I wanted. Eventually I got to the point where I thought I was always going to be subpar. little did I realize that I was the one stopping me from reaching my own greatness.

Anything good does not come without hard work. If you want to be good at something you have to push the extra mile. You can’t expect to be good at something from the get go. Just take a moment and think. Before you learned to run, you had to learn to walk, and before then you had to learn to crawl, and even before then you had to learn to push yourself up. Some people who are naturally adept to something still need to go through the processes of learning . To be truly great they need to work on their craft everyday. Without hard work they can’t reach the pinnacle of their abilities.

Training for this marathon has been a catalyst in my life. It has allowed me to realize that I can’t assume greatness will be thrust upon me, or that I will naturally find the thing I’m best suited for, but that I need to actively seek it myself. I can’t wait for life to begin without taking my first step. Its grueling work to train for a marathon and it can feel daunting at times but I must trust the process of putting in the work one day at a time.

It also taught me that I can’t be afraid to take risks. The marathon is, no joke, one of the hardest physical things I’ve ever done. Before running the marathon I found reasons not to run a marathon. I would tell people that I was going to run one soon, and just put it off for some reason or another. I would make the excuse that I needed to lose wait first, or that my body just wasn’t made for running. I trained for a year waiting to feel ready when I finally ran a half marathon. Then, when I felt like I was really ready, I broke my foot. It was after I broke my foot that I thought I had to just go for it, so without really thinking I just signed up for one and committed to it. That leap has allowed me to leap on other opportunities as they come and continue to make the choice to do something hard even though I’m not 100% ready. some of them have panned out well, others, not so much. Either there is no growth without risk and no risk without some level of fear. Overcoming that fear to commit led me to feel more confident in myself.

Unfortunately, that same confidence can bite you in the butt as it did for me when I ran that race for the first time. I pushed myself too hard, came up short of my expectations and was left humbled by the experience. I tried to skip the step of putting in the hard work. I tried to run as if I hadn’t just been injured and had to stay seated for 5 months. I was defeated by my own pride.

Don’t get me wrong. its perfectly normal for us to have expectations. you want to achieve greatness. You want goals to push you. Just realize there is always a series of steps to making it to the goal and everybody’s journey is going to look different. Some have more to learn than others, some are more adept to learning things quickly than others, and some are given an opportunity to be a step ahead of others. No matter what, that should not stop you from making goals and striving to achieve them. We all have a journey to take and we should enjoy it every step of the way.

Enjoy the journey, its yours. Don’t compare yourself to others because comparison is the thief of joy. And most important of all, just keep going. I know I will. it may be a long journey but I will enjoy it every step of the way!

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