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My thumb has traveled a million miles on Instagram.
I follow people who post beautifully lighted photos with perfectly combined outfits including just the right accessories. Their lives seem deliriously fabulous and color coordinated. I follow people who post inspirational quotes and messages that are created with years of photoshop skills that have amazing graphics and professionally lighted photos.
I also seem to follow a lot of people who love coffee. And taking pictures of their coffee.
And lifters. I follow a lot of lifters.
Olympic style lifters. They do the snatch and the clean and jerk. Watching it, the powerfulness of it, the strength and precision, when done right, is a thing of beauty. Their videos show their training sessions, with fit friends in the background, cheering them on as they dive under the bar as it sails, seemingly effortlessly, overhead, their abs glistening.
I post a lot of lifting pictures myself.
I didn’t really find Olympic lifting until my late 30’s and now, that I’m about to turn 45, I feel like I’ve come a long way.
In my little garage, with the sun coming in at just the right angle so it’s bright but not too hot, even in the Atlanta summer sun, I feel happy and comfortable.
I love my garage space. A few plates scattered on the floor. No mats, or fancy lifting platform, just the concrete covered in a dusting of hand chalk. I take my photos with a tripod that has been bent by a falling plate and so all my videos are slightly crooked and the weights I lift are much less. But I don’t mind.
Lifting isn’t just for my body, it’s for my soul too.
I feel good about my lifting and what I am accomplishing in my little space. I lift and then I sit on a box and rest until my timer goes off and it’s time to lift again. A cycle I complete over and over without ever becoming bored or even lonely.
But now. Now as my thumb scrolls a million miles, I find myself inspired but there is something else.
The strange feeling of comparison. I may have just finished my own lifting session, and felt strong and happy, but when I start to scroll I suddenly feel like I’m not enough.
Not strong enough. Not lean enough. Not successful enough. I started too late. I’m too old. I’m too quad dominate. (That’s a thing ya know)
When I felt wonderful just a few short minutes before, now I feel ‘less than’.
It’s simple, for me to be in my garage, away from everyone while I workout every day, to feel good enough, until I catch a glimpse of someone else and what they are lifting. What they are becoming.
And how could I not? How could I not scroll through the feed and see the amazing things that everyone else is doing and not feel that way?
How do I see all the greatness out there, and not feel like all the greatness is taken up. it’s already been done, or someone is better, smarter, stronger… younger.
It doesn’t matter if it’s lifting. Or Instagram.
You do it too.
With the other moms in the school pick up line, who are on time and involved with all their kids projects and activities and you are just trying to get to work before your boss notices you’re late.
With the woman at work who comes up with the most creative ideas that you wish you’d thought of, leaving your old crappy ideas from last week feeling.. well crappy.
With the other online business owner in your nitch who has a better website, better logo, more clients, more …. greatness.
So you go home and drink your wine and pretend you are just fine because really, everyone around you is able to do it all so much better, why bother.
Because they can’t.
They can’t do YOU in the specific and special way that YOU can do you.
There is something specifically different about the way that I post pictures with my tilted little camera on the bent tripod. Something different about the people I can inspire in my 45 year old way. Something different about the words I choose and the things I learn out there in the garage that I have to share.
There is something special about what YOU are doing every day too.
There is no limit to greatness. It doesn’t get ‘all used up’ and then there is nothing left for anyone else.
There isn’t a bucket with inspiration and gifts that gets drained by others finding their greatness before you do. There is no race or cap on supply. And even if there was, not everyone wants the same things from the bucket!
I may want to lift heavy and you may want to play a great game of tennis.
We all put our special spin on our slice of greatness which makes it different than what any one else is even able to do.
It’s special because its YOU doing it.
So yes, those lifters may be farther along than me in their quest for greatness but instead of comparing myself, I remember they can’t do it like I can. And I don’t want to do it exactly like they do.
I use their progress to inspire me and drive me to be more like me. I appreciate their special gifts and I allow their videos to serve as inspiration for hard work and for doing things in my own way, instead of wanting to be someone else.
That is how I’ll really find my greatness. And that’s how you’ll find yours too.
So toss out those old ideas about what you can accomplish and know that your greatness is waiting for you to pick it up out of the bucket. Your unique strengths are special and are something only you can give to the world. So put your lifting shoes on and get to work. There is greatness waiting on you.
Let me know what your greatness is in the comments. I want to know what makes you ‘YOU’.