It’s easy to become attached to extremes in success. You compare yourself to others. You view your major achievements as milestones and forget to think of each little win you had today, yesterday, last year.
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None of this stops you from victory but you need to take steps to redefine the word.
Victory is the overcoming of an antagonist or the achievement of success against the odds.
Sometimes the antagonist lives inside your mirror waiting to pounce and the first sign of faltering.
Fortunately, with a simple change in definition, you will see so much more than you saw yesterday.
Here are 4 steps to discovering your inner warrior.
1. Measure Against The Day, Not The Antagonist
It’s easy to slip into defeat when you look at your opponent as insurmountable.
You ask, “why can’t I just beat this?”. Whether it’s depression, career, or a tough project, you need to measure victory against the day and not the opponent.
One day you wake up full of vim and vigor and you can take on the universe itself. Another day you wake up in pain and the act of making the bed seems the only possible function.
Ask yourself, “what is today”? Is today the day that the universe feels smaller? Does making the bed feel like taking on the world? If that is the case and you made your bed, then your victory is as powerful as the one before.
One day the bed, the next day the universe. You are strong even if folding the sheets was your power.
2. Measure Against Yourself, Not The World
Everyone is guilty of comparison. It’s time to forgive yourself because it is a natural and human function.
Tomorrow, wake up and measure yourself against the mirror. When you compare you fight unfairly.
You see your idol or the object of comparison and point out their best assets while only using your worst.
This is unfair fighting. Instead, think about your personal best and pursue.
Runners often chase their personal best time or PR. In 2006 I ran the Duluth Marathon and finished at 6 hours and 39 minutes.
The first-place finisher completed it in a bit over 2 hours and 15 minutes. Over 4,000 runners beat my time and most of them with ease.
I could have made the understandable choice of being upset at my time and place but instead, I measured against myself and my PR.
I not only beat my PR but I crushed it into oblivion because until 2006 I had never completed more than a 19-mile run.
I was victorious because I set and completed my goal considering only my needs.
Today, thanks to chronic pain and chronic illness, some days I struggle to get out of bed and make breakfast.
When I do, I count a victory.
3. Watch The Replay
Professional athletes would do themselves a massive disservice if they watched their highlight reels.
When the athlete has a rough go or a collapse, they study the reel constantly until they understand what did not go right and what needs to change before the next game.
You can apply this to every facet of your life. Always watch the replay!
When you have a day where you did not accomplish the goals measured against that day you mourn briefly, shake it off, and see what aspects of your actions or environment played a factor.
If tomorrow I wake up in terrible pain, I ask myself the following day, did I do what I could and if not, what stopped me from achieving that goal.
Often it comes to a moment where I had a spot of motivation and did not adapt and overcome. However, this is not a negative.
There is a myriad of factors that sap motivation, desire, and energy. Watch the replay and ask “what-based” questions and see if there is something you can do tomorrow. You have the strength!
4. Learn To Forgive!
Forgiveness is the hardest tool I teach my clients. Forgiveness for others is a complicated process. Forgiveness towards yourself can feel impossible. I am here to tell you that it is not impossible.
You have made mistakes and you will make more of them.
Take your opportunity to forgive yourself for those mistakes and realize that at your core, you are a fallible human being.
The day you accept that you are fallible is the day you walk the path to success. Read books and articles.
Ask around. Talk to family, friends, and coworkers. Chances are you are judging your action more harshly than those around you.
Look at the result. Was it Earth-shattering? If not, then learn a lesson by watching the replay.
If it is, learn a lesson by watching the replay more intently and with greater focus.
Get professional help or support if you feel temporarily stunned by the moment.
There are people all around to help you work through an objective lens with compassion and caring.
In the end, remember that you are you.
Wake up each day and be the best “you” by measuring against the day, yourself, and by watching the replays.
Above all, take a single moment and say to the mirror, “I forgive you.”
You are worth every waking second.