I went to the track yesterday to run with my daughter. When we arrived, there was a man there with three of his children. The two older boys were running sprints while the father chatted with his daughter, who was about 7-years-old. While Clare and I circled the track, the older boy repeatedly ran his sprints, then walked back to his starting point, over and over again. I admired his discipline and his determination. I believe his father said he was in 7th grade.
On our last lap, I saw the father pit the 7-year-old little girl against her much older brother. He gave the daughter a head start of about 20 feet, then he yelled, “GO!” They both took off, running their fastest. I could see the boy was running faster now because he had someone to chase. She made him better and it didn’t matter how little she was. He made her better, too! I was positioned at the start, so I couldn’t see if he actually caught up to her, but I know it was close.
Regardless of whether we have an adversary (or a mentor), both make us better. We all need someone to chase–it makes us run faster, it brings out the best in us. Being the best at what you do means you have no tension. Without tension, we lose our edge. Who is making you better at what you do? I don’t think that 7-year-old girl new what a catalyst she was; she changed everything on that track. If you want to be better, find someone to chase!