I was 11 years old when I participated in our small town’s annual four-day swimathon. It was less spectacular than it sounds: kids committed to swim 20 lanes in an Olympic-size swimming pool, four nights in a row, and at the end of the last night they all received a medal. I received a medal as well, but I didn’t feel good about it. I had cheated.
On that last night, just before the medals were handed out, I was so tired–or so bored, I don’t remember–that I only swam 16 lanes instead of 20. Not that it mattered much. I was probably not the only one who cheated, because nobody was counting, and nobody cared.
But I cared!
I felt ashamed of myself. I received a medal but I had not earned it. I didn’t tell anyone, and I felt a bit miserable. This lasted for a whole year.
When I was 12 years old, I participated yet again in the annual four-day swimathon. However, this time it was different. This time, I not only committed to swim the 20 lanes every night. I also committed to swim four lanes extra.
Afterwards, I still felt a bit embarrassed about having cheated the year before. But, the shame was gone. I was proud of myself. I had earned myself not one but two medals.
p.s. For those who commit to attending one of my workshops, and then decide not to show up, without notice: Don’t worry. There are plenty of follow-up events. There’s no need to feel ashamed for a whole year. You can earn your medal easily. 😉