After a fun and exciting weekend at my daughter’s cheer competition I could not help but look back and reflect at all I was able to see and experience. Determination, Hard Work, Exhaustion, Dedication, Drive and more. This is what I witnessed this past weekend. Each teen that hit the mat this weekend has been working hard for their spot at this State competition. Every teen had had a goal to reach. Each team had something they were shooting for and a coach with desires and hopes for their teams. Every parent was hoping for the spot their team fully deserved. It is emotional, fun, exciting, hard to watch, breath-taking and sometimes heart-stopping. Cheer has been such a great sport to witness. I admire the kids for their hard work and drive to be and do their best. They have a goal and they shoot for it with all they have. Nothing holds those who want it most from working their hardest to achieve the goal.

This weekend our cheerleaders received State Runner Up in their Game Day division and 3rd place in State for their Traditional routine. Top 3 in two events! This is an incredible accomplishment, for sure. These kids worked hard, tumbled, practiced, motivated one another and on and on. Though they were proud of what they achieved, many of them still walked away feeling defeated because they didn’t hit the mark they so desired. I, however, see such massive success in their weekend.

Success comes in many forms, not just the first prize. Have you really thought about that? It is like the quote “if you’re not first, you’re last.” in Talladega Nights. Ricky Bobby believed this crazy lie in this farce movie about car racing. It took some defeat and silliness for him to realize that second place, is still a place. It is still an accomplishment. For that matter, so is third, or fourth or even being qualified to reach a place. Or, maybe you didn’t even qualify, but you scored higher than the year before? What if you didn’t achieve the rank you wanted, but a few more lives were touched? Who are we to say that it is failure just because you don’t win the prize you are striving after? Many of these kids on our team reached tumbling goals they had never hit before. They worked and grew as a team as the season went on. They came together as a team and did their best they could do at the time. They didn’t quit, but pushed forward. Each one of these kids had work ethic and drive that so many of us lack these days. 

I find myself constantly looking at my failures and taking time to look at the rear view mirror of life. I compare myself with others and always feel like I don’t measure up. Why do I do this when I know better? In my amazing leadership call this morning, one of my mentors used an illustration she uses often and this morning it clicked with me. She faced one way and said this is what I have always seen myself. This is the view and direction I have lived ____ (fill in the years you have lived) years of my life. I need to recognize what I have been telling myself all these years and flip the script in my head and focus on what I envision for myself. My focus should not be on what I have always thought or how I have always done, but where I want to be. Look to the future and act in the Now…not the past. 

If each of the cheerleaders only looked at what they accomplished in the past, how could they see themselves as rising above where they were? As a team they had forward focus. They envisioned themselves in first place. They did their routine at the best they could and should be super proud of what they accomplished. Did they reach the ultimate goal? No, they didn’t see the results they wanted, but they grew. They learned so much about themselves and their team. With guidance from a good coach, they were able to see all they did that went well. This is forward thinking. Looking at what they accomplished and not what they didn’t.

I so want to live my life in the future, not in the past. The verse I read this morning in my devotional said this:

13 Brothers and sisters, I myself don’t think I’ve reached it, but I do this one thing: I forget about the things behind me and reach out for the things ahead of me. Philippians 3:13

Do you think I was supposed to learn a specific message this morning? Hee hee Let’s stop looking at our past and thinking we don’t measure up. From now on, let’s take hold of our future self and let the lessons learned fuel our future. I am a confident and capable woman who has been equipped to do amazing things. My Heavenly Father has given me all I need, I just need to step out in faith and live out my best life. No more excuses, no more worries of not measuring up and just live. Are you with me?

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