It’s not about me. It’s not about me. It’s not about me. These are the words I repeat to myself, over and over again, as I start training for the 2018 Boston Marathon.
If you’ve ever read any of my previous posts, you know that I’m all for self-efficacy, the idea that we control our own destiny, and it is up to us, not others, to lead the way and have the reins in our own lives. At the same time, in order to be successful, one must also let go of the idea that to control one’s life means doing everything by oneself. Sometimes we can’t do it alone. We need more than our internal motivation and belief in ourselves- we need the support and assistance of others.
We all have had moments in our lives that where we may have doubted ourselves, gave up, or didn’t have the heart to carry on, and no matter what we did, couldn’t get out of that funk. On the flip side, we also have had these moments where our friends, family, and even complete strangers may have given us the support we needed, the necessary boost in confidence and motivation to carry on and reach our goal, especially when we move outside of our comfort zones.
For me, this happened as I weighed the options in my head of whether or not to apply for a charity entry for the Boston Marathon. For those not familiar with the process, a certain number of spots in the marathon are given to runners who run the race to raise money for a nonprofit organization, generally in the community. In order to race, I committed myself to raising $10,000 for the organization I’m running for, the Be Like Brit Foundation. Based in the Boston area, Be Like Brit operates an orphanage in Grand Goâve, Haiti; among other things, the organization cares for 66 children at their orphanage, runs mission trips to build earthquake resistant houses in the community (an awesome experience I had the opportunity to do in 2016), and provides those in the area with clean drinking water. This wasn’t a chance to prove to myself I can run a marathon, but a chance to give back to those who need it the most. It was the idea that I can do something for more than myself, that we can accomplish something through this activity. But this begs the question: who exactly is “we”?
It’s not about me, I think to myself. It may be subzero temperatures outside, but my training for this race is what will get me through the finish line. But this trainings, it’s not just about me finishing my first marathon, it’s not about setting a new personal record; it’s about the kids at the orphanage, the people in the community, the hundreds of lives that will be affected by the money I raise. I’m not running for ME, I’m not running for THEM, I’m running for WE.
When doing something for others, there is no reason to think of the situation as “me doing something for them.” As soon as the goals of multiple stakeholders are aligned through one’s assistance, it is not about what I can do for them or what they can do for me. All that exists is “we.” In this case, I am not just the one supporting Be Like Brit. “We” are supporting them, being friends, family, and everyone that has donated to the cause. “We” are all of those that will be impacted by the funds raised at Be Like Brit and in the community of Grand Goâve, those that are giving me the motivation to hammer out mile after mile in training. “We” is not just people, it is a mindset of togetherness, a mindset that I do not have just the support of the donors and supporters, but of every stakeholder in every aspect of this undertaking. Without those supporting me financially, I would not have the resources to run the race, and without those in need of support, I have no reason to raise the money; it is all of the elements combined that bring us all together in unison.
While these semantics may not seem like much, it is the mindset that matters. By having a “we” mindset, there is a sense of teamwork, unity, and solidarity that otherwise may not exist. So for 2018, I leave you with these questions: What can I do to stop thinking of things as “them and me” and starting working towards “we”? What can I do to let go of a “me” mentality? What can I do to support others in reaching this goal too?
To become a part of GR’s “we” in his road to Boston and to donate and support Be Like Brit, click here.
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