When you compete for the joy of competing and to challenge yourself, you will usually end up at the back of the pack. And, at the back of the pack you'll meet lots of people with similar goals. There, you'll have the privilege of hearing stories that you would not hear if you were a top contender.
Many people at the back of the pack want to finish for their families, and to gain a sense of accomplishment and pride in themselves. I love my back contenders. But the people at the back often need constant reassurance and words of affirmation that they are going to make it and that they CAN accomplish the magnificent goal they have set for themselves.
There are many of us in life that have a ‘back of the pack’ mentality. We work hard, check a few items off our bucket list, and plan for the future. Sure, there are people who have extraordinary wealth and privilege, but most of us are just hanging out and doing the best that we can with the abilities granted to us.
I used to feel that I was behind everyone else in the game of life. I would see others accomplish their goals, get promotions, start families, and live a life of fulfillment and happiness while I lagged behind. But the more mature I get, the more I realize that the race is an illusion—it's isn't about competing at all. We all have our own race to run and we all set our own pace. At 36 years old, I am a far cry from rich, I don’t know what accomplished is, and each morning I wonder what are the next steps in life. But ultimately... I am happy. I have learned that we each have our own journey. Sometimes we are as slow as a turtle or as quick as a tiger, but it doesn’t matter because we all have the same outcome at the end.
Sometimes, I believe we are placed in this world to help lead others to greatness within themselves rather than for our own greatness. I love, love, love being in the back and getting to mentor people along the way. Everyone has a story to tell and needs for it to be heard. While competitors are focused on greatness by watching their time, their place, their race, and how they are going to compete, there are people out there who are doing what they can with the spirit and the body that they are given. They, too, are living in greatness. We are supposed to be broken, battered, and torn up by the time we meet the finish line. If you arrive pretty, you didn’t accomplish the goal that you were given.
The people who motivate me are the people who take a stand on life, refuse to back down, and do not bow out of a challenge no matter what the challenge might be. We are here for such a short amount of time, we must make the most of it and do what God has intended for us to do. Whether we are in the front, middle, or back of the race, it doesn’t matter. What matters is showing up and doing your absolute best, regardless of the circumstances.