We have this thing at the end of lunch where all of the campers finish the phrase in the title. One lucky kid (usually sitting close to my table) gets to yell ‘AWESOME’ in the microphone while everyone else yells at the top of their lungs. It’s a fun way to end a meal and get ready for what’s next.
And, it’s a way to remind our campers and staff that ‘being awesome’ is a choice.
But, what does ‘being awesome’ even mean?
Lesson at the Beach
I’ve recently spent some time in southern California seeing families. On a particularly beautiful morning, I spent time at Venice Beach walking and watching. Near a pier with a bunch of roller coasters, I ambled past an interesting exercise area. What I saw left me shaking my head in wonder.
On two ropes hanging 30’ down and about 5 feet apart, one guy was going up with a hand on each rope. At the top, he put his feet on top of the support bar and hung there like a bat. Then, he came down the ropes – upside down!
Nearby there were a set of 10 rings, each hanging eight feet off the ground and spaced evenly about ten feet apart. One lady was going through them like she was flying, gliding, sailing. She was spinning and twisting with an almost joyful expression. The next guy up looked like Tarzan, flying through the rings just as effortlessly.
The final stop on the show was a pair doing some sort of combined ground based acrobatics. He was the base and lying on his back. She was like a human pinball that he spun and supported her only with his feet.
These people were awesome and did incredible things I’d never before seen. None were professionals – all just did it because they loved to move. I asked the first three people how they learned and all basically said ‘by watching others and trying new moves out that looked like fun.’
It can be intimidating watching people do things that you can’t do yet. All we see is the current fruits of their past labors. And, labor they did!
Pound the Stone
None of these people showed up on the boardwalk, jumped into the air, and could do what I saw in that moment when they started. In fact, the upside-down guy gave himself a fist pump when he got to the bottom – he was pretty excited he’d just completed the move.
Becoming great at something takes months and months of effort and thought and practice and learning. It takes building on top of what you’ve learned and loving the process. (There is a great book about this called Pound the Stone.)
And, you have to be careful about comparing yourself to those who have already put in the work to be Awesome at something. If you want to act like Streep, dance like Baryshnikov, cook like Flay, or shoot like Steph, you’ve got to put in the same hours they did. And, that’s a lot of hours and a lot of dedication.
It’s not enough to know what you want. It’s more important to find something you are willing to work for. Once you’ve found that something for which you are willing to put in the time, effort, and learning, then get after it and enjoy the process!
But the process isn’t always fun, is it?
A Good Exercise
I recently read a great example about this. Imagine the one thing you really want – becoming a professional athlete, creating an amazing company, whatever it is…. Now, imagine that you wake up tomorrow morning and that goal has been accomplished.
It would be fun, sure, for a few days. But then you’d get bored with it and start looking to build something else. It’s the struggle, the journey, the process that we truly love the most.
Those men and women on the beach, they had loved the process of becoming awesome. And, they will continue to strive to get better at what they’ve found they love. You can do the same.
Now, go out there and be awesome!
Have a great week,