On Why There Is No Competition
My father used to explicitly tell me:
“There’s always going to be someone better than you.
Faster, quicker, smarter .. so you better bring your A game.”
I can remember the feeling that used to spread across my chest when he would say that. It felt like my ribcage was shrinking and trying to bring all of my other bones with it.
Needless to say, I spent years trying to be the fastest, the quickest, the smartest. I spent years trying to be on top but not look like I was trying too hard. I spent years trying to be someone who I’m not.
And for the longest time I couldn’t stand the fact that I wasn’t that person. I wished that I was. I wanted to be that girl soo badly. I thought that if I just worked a little harder, did a little more research, got a little less sleep, stayed late just one more day that somehow those wishes of wanting to be that girl would go away because eventually I would just become her.
But I didn’t become her.
In fact, I could feel myself almost instinctively pulling away as the feeling that I was a FRAUD just kept getting stronger and stronger.
And thank goodness it did.
Because eventually I couldn’t take it anymore and I gave up. I gave up trying to be someone I’m not and never was to begin with. I gave up trying to be someone I’m not so I could make room for the person I was always meant to be.
Now that I’m on the other side, I realize how wrong my father was.
Because the thing is it doesn’t matter if someone is faster, quicker, or smarter than you. It makes no difference at all.
Because at the end of the day that person isn’t you. She hasn’t been through the things that you’ve been through in the order that you’ve been through them and for the reasons that you’ve been through them. She doesn’t know the things that you know in the ways you know them and she doesn’t know the things that you don’t know for the reasons you don’t. She doesn’t see the world the way you do because she isn’t YOU.
And that is the best thing in the whole entire world.
So here is my challenge to you. The next time you feel like you’re not good enough, not brave enough, not happy enough, not fast enough, not quick enough, or not smart enough, I want you to ask yourself this one question:
Who is one person that you greatly admire and respect but that you know of
at least one other person who feels exactly the opposite as you?
I’ll give you an example: Back in college, one of my very favorite professors had a bit of a quirky personality. I personally loved it and thought that whatever came out of his mouth was pure gold, but I knew multiple people who felt the complete opposite and refused to take his class.
The point of this exercise is to get you to see that everyone is looking at things from their own perspective and while you may be sitting there thinking that person-so-and-so’s work is the greatest thing you’ve ever had the privilege of laying your eyes on, someone else is thinking the same thing about you.
But here’s the bigger picture. You felt called to do whatever it is you’re doing right now. You felt a pull or a push in the direction you’re currently moving in for a reason.
So what if the real fraud is the woman who doesn’t continue to act on her true desires. What if the real fraud is the woman who continues to claw and fight her way, trying to be someone who she just isn’t. And what if the real fraud is the woman who convinces herself that she doesn’t have something so amazingly unique and 100% HER to offer that she goes back to feeling like she has to compete and prove her worth against everyone else out there?
This is what I’ll leave you with today. There is no one else in the world who is you the way you are you. Even twins are not 100.00% the same as each other so please celebrate your individuality, please celebrate the things you feel called to do, and please do not for a second more think that you are not fast enough, quick enough, or smart enough. You are as enough (of whatever) as you need to be.