"How do I know that I'm worth something?" - "When you cross the finish line, you'll know!"
Although coming from a positive and motivating context, these are a bit gloomy words. Who hasn't seen the wonderful movie "Cool Runnings" yet: that one should go on your list.
Why do we need goals in life? As a principal, nothing much would speak against just letting yourself drift and look out for whatever comes your way, right?
For my part, I realised pretty early that I only get really active and creative when I have a goal in sight. The feeling of having accomplished something through consequence and work, independent thinking and persistence... I always enjoyed that. But could there be more to it?
Quickly summarised: The aforementioned movie tells the story of a young Jamaican training to represent his country as a sprinter at the Olympic Games. When his qualification run goes south, he picks himself up and decides to build a bobsledding team instead with two other sprinters and his best friend who is a soap box derby pilot and to compete in the Olympic Winter Games.
Of course, there is resistance, as well from their own people as from outside which leads to huge inner conflicts. Up to the point where protagonist Derice Bannock asks his coach during a talk how he could recognise his worth. Which is replied by his coach with the initial quote. Once more: watch that movie.
If I'm honest I have to say that my way into sports was of a similar character. For a long time - as a teenager it's absolutely okay to call 4-5 as a long time - I was of the sound opinion that I wasn't able to do anything, worth nothing and that I would constantly screw up everything. I wasn't that good in school, even though this was relatively spoken: I really sucked at maths and anything related to calculus. All of the other stuff came easy to me, however, for some people my mathematical deficits were so hyped and force-fed to me repeatedly that I began to identify myself only by my incompetence to understand numbers and nothing else. I didn't have many friends. Translation: I had one or two friends who were my age and a few more who were older than me. Other than that, I struggled to meet new people. My interests were more or less opposite of those of my classmates. They liked cars, I liked tall ships. They listened to electronic music, I liked the Beatles. They watched television, I read books. Most of the time I was the shortest, the weakest and the most insecure.
And of course, all this didn't help outside of school because what was ignited there tended to be stoked further at home by my very own father. I spent most of my teenager years firmly believing to be worth nothing and that I would never amount to anything in life.
If you repeat a record often enough, it burns into your subconscious until the over and over heard songs become an irrefutable truth for yourself.
The very moment I swam a full 100m for the first time at the local pool, my life changed. When shortly after I ran the second fastest time over 5000m at a school sports day - of the entire school! - I felt for the first thing something I previously hadn't known: the feeling of being able to do something.
Does anyone wonder that I plunged head first into sport after that, that I began learning until I almost collapsed and that I decided in this very first year to participate in the Ironman Switzerland as soon as I had become 18?
Perhaps, therapy would have helped to heal from all those small but summarising traumata and insecurities. Perhaps I would have had a "normal" life. Instead I went on and...
If I learnt something in the past years and especially the last year, it's the fact that people aren't made to be "normal". We need community, recognition and gratification, but above it all we need them for things we do FOR ourselves. For things we do for OURSELVES. At the end of our life, no one will be remembered for their excellence in typing columns into a screen and having a "steady" job. And only few of us will ever regret not having spent more time at the office. But we will look back and wish that we had done more for ourselves and our goals...
In conclusion: set yourself some goals! And then get busy fulfilling them. Do it FOR you. Do it for YOU. And if you find resistance, let me tell you: you're doing something right!