There's nothing groundbreaking or scientific about this blog, just observations on what we know to be true. It is easier for humans to conform to what others are doing in a temporary setting, as well as over the long term if the exposure is repeated enough. Who we choose to be with in most situations is very important, and how we react when in temporary scenarios where we have no choice can profoundly impact our success as well. The impact you have on others is significant, and the same is true about the impact others have on you!
What I learned from a youth 5k run
On Wednesday, I was fortunate to run a practice 5k with my amazing 10 year old niece which consisted of 3 loops that each measured 1 mile. The run was organized by Girls On The Run, and the goal was not to race but rather to have fun and for the girls to challenge themselves a bit. My objective was to be her running buddy and keep her motivated throughout the long run. Along with about 20 other girls her age, we took off on our first loop. The girls began excited about the run, getting out fast and encouraging each other as a group of 5 broke away early. They were positive and encouraging each other until... about 400 meters into the run one of the girls began walking. Within seconds, all five of the girls that were just recently encouraging and excited all began walking, with a few bringing up complaints. One person's decision influenced the decision of four other people! This scenario is not unique to this situation.
I maintained a slow run and was able to convince my niece to continue running with me. My goal wasn't to race the other girls, it was to have her do what she is capable of and what is right. After just one mile finished, the group we started with was nowhere in sight behind us. My niece was having fun and challenging herself at the same time, she knew she would see her friends again after the run. She made one decision to do what is right, and with that she was able to grow in confidence and learn that a positive mindset can lead to doing our best!
So when we are in races, practices or any situation with other peers, it's important to remember just how much your decisions and communication affect those around you! If you are positive and encouraging to yourself and others, you can have a powerful group as seen early in the run I did with my niece. On the flip side, just one negative comment or action can sabotage those around you very quickly. It's important that we hold ourselves and each other accountable. We must focus on doing what is right, which may very often not be what is easiest! And that's what makes our group special. We are willing to challenge ourselves, do extra, face stress and be uncomfortable. Continue to recognize the importance of your demeanor and actions, and make sure you are providing the best environment you can for you and others to thrive! And if you see someone not following our standards or bringing others down, be the one to correct them and encourage them back on the right path.
Lastly, in races this can happen too. We can get caught up behind a pack that is not moving as fast as we could be and it can cause us to settle. While competition will fuel us and help us in races, it's always important to run your race and to your abilities. Don't ever let anyone limit what you can do in life.
By the way, my niece did amazing running with me the whole 3 miles and finishing right with one other girl ahead of everyone else. No, it's not about her finishing up front, but rather the good decision she made to be her best and still have a ton of fun accomplishing a very long run for a ten year old!!
For this track season, I have been focusing my messages within the weekly letters. I'd like to check back in here on our blog for this week!
We had eleven boys volunteer this afternoon at the Healthy Kids Running Group which took place at Nathan Hale. This event will continue for the next 4 Sundays from 2:45 p.m. to about 4:00 p.m. I'd love to continue getting our guys involved if they can as it is a great way to promote running as the amazing sport that it is. There were many younger kindergarten to 2nd grade boys and girls running in the group, but as the ages went up there was less involvement. I attribute some of that to youth sports coaches using running as a punishment and creating a distaste for kids growing up. I'm hoping that culture continues to shift and that coaches can realize that running is a part of most every sport. What adults promote will have an influence over kids, so we need youth coaches to start promoting running as a healthy, fun and rewarding activity rather than as a punishment which it most certainly never should be. (Unless you want a bunch of lazy athletes).
On Sunday morning, we had 5 of our boys come to my house for a Sunday morning practice this week as we had taken off Saturday this week. Two of these guys, Joshua and Bradley, raced to personal bests in a very fun Friday night meet down in Mount Prospect, Illinois. Joshua took 4th in the 3200 with a 9:41 and Bradley ran 4:47 in the 1600 under the lights. The meet was centered around the kids and was an amazing environment with music bumping and great competition. We definitely look to bring some of that excitement and those ideas to home meets we host. I'm already looking ahead at our Betz Meet in cross country and we have a lot of exciting new features being added to that meet to make it an amazing experience for the kids and parents! But kudos to the boys attending the Sunday long run or getting in runs on their own. As I have mentioned often, the consistency with purpose brings about amazing progress and improvement.
Last Tuesday we had an awesome quad meet where we had unlimited entries. I threw a ton of boys into the 1600! For many, it was a learning process as it was either their first or second ever 1600. We took away a lot of valuable lessons, including bringing purpose to everything. We did not have our best focus on Monday as a squad last week, so we talked about our mantra of "Everyone matters. Everything matters.". We look to grow and learn from our experiences and bring that focus and caring for what we do as well as for who we do this with.
On Thursday we had a quick turn around for the freshmen as they participated in a freshmen only invitational at Kettle Moraine. Our track and field team won this invitational behind some awesome performances and support of one another! The freshmen on our squad are a huge part of what we accomplish as a team, and age is not a limit on what can be achieved. We expect all are boys to be varsity guys if they bring the right attitude and purpose to each day.
Through any highs and lows, it's important to remember outcomes are always in our best interest. In some way, every outcome can make us a better person. We continue to control what we can, and learn from lows and build off of highs. In sport/life we will encounter barriers, doubts and setbacks. We will also experience great triumphs, wins and success. In both cases, we get back to work the next day and continue our journey.
As we enter the final month of the 2019 season, make sure we are taking care of ourselves. Be respectful and focused in school, while maintaining a healthy diet and getting at least 8 hours of sleep daily. Practice is only 2 hours of each day, so it's up to each of us to choose how we spend the other 22 hours. Keep working hard, having fun and setting no limits. Be loving and mission orientated. Everyone matters. Everything matters.
Make it a great day!
Finished up a short book titled "On Confidence" and took away some great quotes/lessons to life. A major trait in people is comparison and external validation, both of which can become destructive to the self. Be unique, be yourself and love your life.
Lesson 1: Nobody is immune to insecurities and nervousness even if they display it this way. Understand we are all people who make mistakes. Don't mistake any person as being perfect.
"Other People must be as anxious, uncertain and wayward as we are."
Lesson 2: We all have our own battles, and each of us is doing our best to live a good life. Show empathy.
"Maturity means going from the myth of a person to a full recognition of their humanity."
Lesson 3: Achievement and failure do not define who we are.
"our achievements are not our being, and the failure of our actions does not presuppose failure of our entire selves."
Lesson 4: Life is too short to worry about failure or embarrassment. Go out and live honestly.
Lesson 5: We will have enemies, but cannot let them control what is false about us.
"We cannot change the presence of an enemy, but we can change what an enemy means to us."
"We will constantly be the target of anger, but we don't have to believe ourselves to be its true cause."