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!!