Memories of a strange moment

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.

No comparison

I remember growing up thinking that I wanted to do better than others. I wanted to achieve more than my dad did.

Now that I have kids of my own, I realise there is nothing more that I want than for my kids to achieve more than me. And my idea of achievement has shifted so much that it is nothing like what I used to imaging achieving when I was a kid.

Achievement for me now means something more along the lines of the awareness to know myself and listen to myself, awareness of the reality of the context of my existence, the courage to live according to the truth I understand from this awareness, and the skills to put this courage into practise.

There is no competition. We are all on a path that is bound to the path of those around us. We are all here to help each other grow and achieve. I thank my dad for helping me the way he has. I enjoy nothing more than helping my kids on their own path.

Unique, one opportunity only, creation

A friend of mine is starting a new business where she helps physicians avoid burnout. A once burnt-out physician herself she is well equipped to help others.

As she started to work on her business she found a mentor with whom she shared her ideas in order to get guidance and direction. She found somebody whom she could trust.

You can imagine her surprise when a few months later she heard that this mentor was starting her own practise in assisting burnt-out physicians, seemingly using many of the ideas that my friend had shared with her.

My friend started to wonder if it was worth continuing. Was there room enough for both of them? Had this been a breach of trust? She reached out to her friends on Facebook.

I remember writing something back to her about how it didn't actually matter what her ex-mentor was doing, or even how many other people were assisting burnt-out physicians, whether that be many or few. The thing that matter was whether this was something that had come from within her, something she cared deeply about, felt 'lit-up' by, and compelled to bring into the world. Because nobody could copy or replicate or create the same thing that she could. Nobody else is the same as her, has lived the same experiences she has.

It was quite easy to write those words to my friend at the time, and perhaps part of me knew that one day I would need them for myself, at a time when I would find them harder to write. That moment is now for me.

I sometimes feel insecure in about my podcast, protective of my patch and feel a need to keep it safe. When I hear of other similar podcasts, my heart sinks. 

But what I wrote to my friend is also true for me. It doesn't matter how many other similar podcasts there are out there. The thing that matters is that this has come from deep enquiry of myself, that it is an authentic expression, and that I feel compelled to bring it into the world. It will be different to any other podcast, because nobody is the same person as me.

And if I don't bring this into the world, it will never exist.