Last night, I was working at the Noblesville Rotary Club's booth at the local county fair, when a young girl, probably 12 or 13, walked up and ordered some french fries. As she was waiting, she ran into a friend. I overheard the sweetest conversation...
The friend asked the girl if she'd shown her llamas yet. The girl responded, "yes! I just got done."
"How'd you do?" the friend asked. The girl giggled. "7th place!" She said. "I got a penalty for turning in my paperwork late, so I have to come in last in every event." How sad, right? Her friend was saying how much that sucked, except the girl just shrugged her shoulders and said, with the biggest smile, "it's ok! I don't mind."
Then she took her french fries and walked away. But I was really struck by the conversation. Imagine going into competition KNOWING you are going to get LAST place. Me at that age? I would have begged my mom to let me stay home. It wouldn't matter, right? I can't win. I can't even get second. It wouldn't be worth even trying, because you know that you're going to be the very last one no matter what you do.
But that girl reminded me that it's not really about the winning, anyway. It's not about being first. She clearly just loved being part of the whole thing, she was passionate about this hobby of hers, and it didn't matter to her if she got first or last. I think that's what it means to be truly joyful. To just be happy doing the thing, regardless of where you finish. It's a good reminder for me as I wrap up a business week where it felt like I wasn't "winning" at anything. It's so important to cultivate that feeling of simply loving what you're doing...and not needing to be the best. And every day I am reminded of how blessed I am to be pursuing this life I love, to be doing a job I TRULY, truly enjoy. I'm just so grateful.
I hope your weekend is full of doing all the things you love to do, simply for the love of doing them. And cotton candy from a county fair, because that is the good stuff that summer weekends are made of.
(photo by GILBERT M. GROSVENOR, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, 1963)