Let’s be honest for a minute. I am one of the most competitive people on the planet. I love to win. In fact, for years I’ve told myself the reason I keep running is because I absolutely suck at it and somehow that will teach me that sometimes you do stuff, just to have fun (even though it isn’t a lot of fun). Lately, I haven’t been winning much of anything. Because if I’m being 100 percent honest, the pandemic threw me hard.
What does that mean? It means I like to be in control. I like to make plans and execute plans and check things off my to do list and manage things. I’m good at that. But, a pandemic thrown at you two days before you are supposed to go on your annual vacation doesn’t really allow for that. Your son’s school suddenly closing on a moment’s notice… when you can barely parent let alone teach is tough. Your teammate taking FMLA and a series of unanticipated grants dropping in your lap is difficult to navigate when frankly your struggling to motivate yourself to take a shower. Grocery lists for stores that lack groceries doesn’t really equate to much.
As these items were fired at me, I did my best to remember Rise Ft. Meyers. Remember that? Just four months ago I flew to Florida and declared the word grace as my word for 2020. Who the fuck knew that I’d need that word more than ever. But, as the pandemic continues, I don’t find solace in that word. I find defeat. How much grace do I have to give myself before I find some sense of normalcy?
In my quest to try to figure shit out, I reread one of my favorite marketing books – Start with Why by Simon Sinek. If you’ve never read it, please do. Or, at least watch his Ted Talk. Even if you aren’t into marketing, there is a lot of wisdom in it. It has been years since I’ve read this book and this time, I was more focused on me than how I approach marketing campaigns. I thought maybe I needed to rediscover my why. And, it was during this re-read that I stumbled across a line that was more than relevant to my life right now… Simon says, “No one likes to lose and most healthy people live their life to win. The only variation is the score we use… The metric is relative but the desire is the same.”
Let me say it again for the folks in the back… most people live their life to win. The only variation is the score we use. It made me realize that right now, I need to modify my score card a bit. It isn’t so much about giving myself grace for screwing up, but instead reminding myself of what matters and how I’m keeping score of it.
So what do I write down everyday that matters to me?
Jake knowing I love him unconditionally. Grow something in my garden. Earn the respect of my co-workers. Retire at 55. Self-publishing a book. Practice gratitude everyday. Spend quality time with my father. Manage my weight. Beat my Grandma’s PR. Maximize a growth mindset.
These are just some of the things I strive for… these are the marks that I keep dibs on. And right now, some of these are a big stretch for me. But what Simon reminded me of today is how I keep score matters. Am I scoring my parenting ability on the meals I make Jake for dinner… or for showing up as him mom, every single day. Am I gauging success on what Parenting Magazine says my kid needs for nutrition or on the fact that we laughed so hard I almost wet myself? Because if it is the latter of the two, I’m crushing that goal. The first, not so much.
Am I a self-published author? Not yet. Did I miss my April writing goal? Yep. But am I further along on writing a book than I ever have been before? Yep. Do I know without a doubt that this darn thing will be published even if nobody buys it. Yep. Am I committed to keep plugging away, one word at a time. Yep.
Am I struggling to keep a positive attitude during this time period? Hell yeah. But is the mark my daily attitude or the fact that I keep showing up every single day and am at least trying?
In other words, I know my why. I’m someone who has invested a lot of time in understanding what makes me tick… and even so, still find myself at least questioning if I’m still on-course. And, it turns out, my desire to win isn’t unique but instead totally normal. But, what I do know is sometimes how we’re keeping score isn’t so easy. How we determine if we’re living up to our why can be disguised or temporarily misplaced or lost in the shuffle of just trying to get through the day or making the poor mistake of comparing our score to someone else’s.
This weekend I took a step back and allowed myself to reallocate my scorecard. Did I love on my son? Am I saving money? Am I showing up for my co-workers and doing my work? Am I putting healthy food (along with the snacks) in my body? Am I getting outside and moving my legs? Am I carving out moments to peck away at my book? These are all things I can control, even in a world that seems so out of control right now. But it is these little wins that matter folks. And it is these races I intend to win next month.
I have no clue what chaos comes with a new calendar month. But all I do know is even that can’t shake my why.