When it comes to running, I am 100 percent purebred, authentically average. I love running, but I never expect record times. That woman in a hot dog costume just passed me on the course? Of course! As the Olympics are upon us and we watch and admire the best, I challenge us to recognize and celebrate the everyday Olympians in our midst – the “average” that always shows up for life, regardless of the odds. Are you an everyday Olympian? Everyone is eligible to join the team, if only we can overcome our perfectionism mindset. Who is in?
Is being average our biggest fear?
Are you afraid of being mediocre? God forbid we have average intelligence, average athletic abilities, average appearance, average income, and even average children. However, elementary school mathematics teaches us that half the population is at or below the median. So why the disdain? Perfectionism is our nemesis. It is unattainable and unforgiving. Many people give up their goals with the prospect of being “average,” but everyday Olympians strive to progress beyond perfection. They understand that being average is sometimes part of the journey. Everyday Olympians carry on regardless of rank or prestige.
The math lesson aside, how do we interpret the average? Lazy? Failed? Forgettable? Mediocre? These words are cruel and deflate our confidence. When we focus on results rather than growth, we often place labels that are not only inaccurate but counterproductive. Everyday Olympians adopt a beginner’s mindset. They lose their attachment to results and embrace the journey like a beginner. Do you want to be an everyday Olympian? Try new things and stay open to the possibilities. Persist despite obstacles. Applaud the effort. Every day, Olympians embrace their reality, overcome insecurity, show up and do their best.
The courage of the underdog brings victory
Do you have the courage of an everyday Olympian? When my daughter raced on the track, she was always close to the back of the group, but I was the proudest father in the stands. It is easy to enter a race when we are programmed to win. It is much more difficult when we are expected to finish last. My daughter was the underdog, but she still showed up. Unique. Weather. She is my everyday Olympian. There’s a reason crowds cheer for both the bottom ranked and the winner – the courage of the underdog is inspiring. Everyday Olympians may not win the race, but they inspire.
As we watch the Olympics in the coming weeks, I challenge us to redefine success. Success is not simply being elite. Success continues when the odds are against us. Success is courage in the face of uncertainty, adversity, and insecurity. Choosing to appear consistently when you’re “average” isn’t average at all – it’s exceptional. Everyday Olympians understand that courage comes from hitting the track, persevering, and crossing the finish line. In a world celebrating victory, let us choose to honor the perseverance of the “average” Olympian of every day. First or last, courage and tenacity always bring gold.
Will you join the team?
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