I have a memory of a school athletics day. I would have been about 16, in year 11, at the time. I was in a 400m race, and winning as we were coming into the home straight. Winning was not uncommon for me. I was a good runner, and had won many races in my life.
With about 50 metres to go I looked across and saw a friend of mine running second to me. He was about 10 metres behind me, and in the same house as I was.
For some reason I decided to let him win the race. The thoughts I remember going through my head were, "He hasn't won a race like this, and I have won plenty. I should let him win. It would be the nice thing to do".
So I did. I slowed down and encouraged him to run past me. He finished first, and I finished second.
This memory has stayed with me to this day, vividly. There was something significant about it that I can't quite put my finger on. Something that potentially shapes how I live to this day.
While it was probably a nice thing to let somebody else win, there was also something diminishing about it. I was intentionally making myself smaller. I was not pushing myself as hard as I could. I was not doing my best. It would have been a hollow victory for my friend.
Today I am going through a process of reflecting on the ways I hold myself back and keep myself smaller than I need be. As I do, this memory keeps coming back to me.
I am yet to full unpack its significance, but have a feeling it is hiding a treasure for me.