Wow, have to admit that title was hard to write, now the hard part begins, the blog post.
Thinking back to high school I have always felt I was just short of the finish line and that my best wasn’t enough. I remember one such time playing baseball sophomore year.
I had given me all during practice, I wasn’t the best, but I always showed up and gave my all. That year I only played two innings the entire season, and my primary job was keeping the book.
I share this because this feeling of not being worth it or good enough has played over in my head like a broken record that just won’t stop.
I was never the kid that was popular, good at sports, or good at making friends. I don’t share this to collect pity; I share it so that I can take this opportunity to remind each of you that we are worth it, even if our life circumstances haven’t validated it.
What follows is a letter I wrote to myself in the context of a close friend who wanted to remind me how much he appreciated our friendship.
I am not sure if it can be stated how much having you in my life has meant. I know when we talk it has sounded like you’re going through some tough times. But, know that even when you doubt your self or think you’re not showing up. Showing up is half the battle and is more than some friends do.
Even when we go weeks or months without seeing each other when we get together, it’s like we just talked yesterday, and we pick up right where we left off.
I overheard you asking yourself the other day if you thought you were worth it. Hearing you ask that question was hard to process. When I think of you, I think of you as one of the most worthy individuals in my life who deserves to be happy.
When you think about your effort compared to the results, you forget that the effort is 98% of the journey. The result is meaningless as long as you are growing.
Your courage, openness, kindness, honesty, and most importantly wisdom is what I admire most about you. Your example in my life has been the lighthouse that keeps me heading in the right direction.
Even in a room full of darkness you can be the light, the humor, and point the way all at once. You offer an example in my life to follow, and any man would be grateful to be able to call you a friend.
I know growing up with you that you didn’t always have the confidence of others or the mental strength and that you think it is something holding you back, but your events weren’t meant to stop you on your path, they were made to propel you.
I know men who wish they had the adversity of your life to ground them and let them see the world through a different set of eyes.
Even on my worst days, your kindness to reach out, help a friend and not expect anything in return isn’t something that happened because of your genetics. It was because you were there when no one reached out to you.
In your past, people pulled you down so that later in life you would be ready to lift people up.
You always talk about your passion for leadership and your desire to master its principles. Your desire isn’t by accident either, leaders by their nature inspire action, purpose, and drive. You might not be a naturally born leader, but you are a leader forged in the fire of life.
No one sees the potential in people as you do and your ability to pick people up even when they might not be able to see it themselves is something I admire about you.
You might not see it yet, but even your Marine Corps career was you rising to the challenge put in front of you. To rise from the ashes of the past, push through the moment, and discover the future your life has ready for you.
You once told me you were afraid that no one would show up at your funeral and say nice things. This belief is rooted in your doubt and self-worth. It’s my opinion the seeds of your life will be filled with fruit from the trees that people won’t be able to say enough nice things.
A friend told me a great quote today, “Legacy is planting seeds in a garden you never get to see.” Remember this when you doubt the results of your effort.
Disconnect from the result and know, finishing first is never as important as showing up and doing your best.
I was playing a game with my five-year-old daughter the other day, and it reminded me of a lesson that seems to fit what you need to hear. She was upset that she wasn’t winning, like most kids. I reminded her that the real winners are the ones who show up and give their best.
On your darkest days, remember the effort is what counts, not the result.
I hope this letter has helped you refocus on your growth and ground yourself in the belief that your friendship is something worth more to me than all the money in the world.
Life time Champion,
Also published on Medium.