I sat in my vehicle outside the gym, my face glistening with sweat and tears stinging my eyes. I just finished my first 5k and I felt terrible, not physically, but emotionally. “Last. Dead Last.” My inner critic started in on me. My time was 43:53 which seemed awful and embarrassingly turtle-like. I thought I knew the importance of never giving up. I knew how to motivate myself to not give up – and I had finished the race. But for what?
If you have ever wondered about the importance of never giving up, then read on – this is for you. If you think you already know the importance of never giving up, then this is for you too. I learned a lot of lessons from this experience which I want to use to inspire you, give you hope, touch your heart, and remind you to keep going, even when you want to quit.
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The Inner Critic
My inner critic continued it’s silent dialogue “All you did was embarrass yourself. You know that, right? When the rankings come out your name will be there at the very bottom for all to see. Why did you think you could try this anyway? There’s no way you can post this on Facebook, or anywhere else for that matter. No one can see your terrible time.”
“But I finished,” I countered. “I may not have the fastest time, but I did the best that I could do. I did not give up and I put one foot in front of the other until it was done.”
“All your friends did so much better than you did.” My critic not so nicely pointed out.
“But I was still in the race. The race was not against my friends, it was with my friends. I jogged for that baby that started his life in the NICU and for his parents, and for me – to prove to myself that I could do this. I didn’t give up. Even if I am last in the rankings, I still finished ahead of all the people that didn’t enter.”
The Texts that Picked me Back Up
As I was busy wrestling with my inner critic, my phone blipped with a text notification, bringing me back to reality and the world at large.
“Got that picture you showed me still?” it read. It was from my friend and manager of the gym, who had coordinated the event. (Who probably had no idea I was sitting in the van and fighting tears.)
Despite my reluctance, I texted her the pictures that I had taken as proof of my participation. I went ahead and bit the bullet and texted her the selfie that I had taken of myself 5 minutes ago. The one right after I finished where I was smiling and proud of myself for not giving up – before I knew how fast anyone else had finished.
The phone blipped again.
“I’m so proud of you!” it read. Now the tears fell. How could she be proud of me? She trained me and I felt like I had let her down with my slow time.
I drove home to give myself time to think before I texted her back. Should I pretend like everything was fine or should I tell her that I felt like I had failed?
“Thank you. I have mixed feelings.” I texted her back from my kitchen. “I’m proud of myself for doing it, for sticking with it and for trying, as well as for at least jogging through most of it, but I am ashamed of my time. It seems so slow.”
That’s that. I thought. She’ll tell me it’s ok and at least I tried and didn’t give up. I’ll do better next time – if there is a next time.
“BULL!!” her answering text started. ” It is a great time. It’s a personal best and a place to start from. Are you a professional runner? Have you ran for years? Everyone starts somewhere. Start from here. Think of it this way. The day you came into the gym did you think a 5k was possible? Much less the time you did it in? The first “Walk it Out” you thought death was gonna happen. Now a 5K!?! STOP BEING HARD ON YOURSELF take the Win!!”
The truth slammed through my a brick wall of self-pity. I laughed – remembering that first class she had mentioned. Yes, I did think I was going to die when she said the word “sprint.” Sometimes you need to hear the truth from someone else before you can accept it.
Why You Should Not Give Up
A 5K might be something that you can relate to, or it may not be. Even if a 5K sounds like death to you, as it would have to me last year, you are probably familiar with the importance of not giving up. If you have ever tried to do anything challenging that you had a personal connection with, you know what I’m talking about.
The Importance of Not Giving Up – Chasing Dreams Vs. Catching Them
I hope that you have a dream or dreams that you have yet to realize in your life. Dreams inspire us and give us hope. They also challenge us to grow as people in many different ways. When we don’t quit, when we push past the hard parts, we develop resilience. We start to develop the habit of picking ourselves up and trying again. Every time that you don’t quite get there, that you don’t give up, you get one step closer to your goal or dream.
Chasing dreams and catching them are two different things. Lots of people chase dreams, only to go a few steps before giving up. You have to do more than that to catch you dreams. That’s the importance of not giving up – you persist through setbacks, You remember your Big Why – the reason you dreamed the dream in the first place and what it means to you. You keep putting one foot in front of the other. Even if you stumble, and even if you fall, you get right back and try again.
You may have to wipe the dirt off a few times. You may find yourself riding the “struggle bus” from time to time, but the important thing is you don’t quit. As my friend is fond of saying “You can ride the struggle bus, but you can’t get off.”
How to Motivate Yourself to Not Give Up
There are many ways to motivate yourself to not give up. In fact, I have a whole course on it. (Questing for Self-Motivation to Achieve Your Personal Goals) I think one of the most powerful ways of motivating yourself is to remember why you set the goal in the first place. (In my book Self Discipline in 6 Weeks, I refer to it as your Big Why).
When you are deeply emotionally invested in something, it requires some risk. If you don’t achieve your goal or your dream, you are going to be disappointed and it will cost you something. It may be pride, money, or both. The journey may be long and hard. There may be setbacks along the way, but rising above them helps you to learn and grow. Those setbacks are lessons.
The biggest thing that will motivate your to not give up is knowing how achieving that dream or goal will change your life. How much and why you want it with every fiber of your being. Some things are worth fighting for and improving your life, finding your happiness, and your peace is certainly one of those things.
You may cry, you may fall along the way and have to have someone else coach you up along the way. But the important thing is that you keep going. In the end, it does not matter how long it took you to get there, what matters is that you catch your dream – because you didn’t quit.
Related Post: 10 Powerful Self Motivation Techniques
The Importance of Not Giving Up – And Not Comparing Yourself to Others
Don’t compare yourself to others. When my inner critic started eating me alive it was right after I learned how fast some others completed the 5k. We all start at different places. We all have different challenges that we have to face. Your journey will not be like any one else’s. In the end, it doesn’t matter how fast you completed your goal or how quickly you ran the race. What matters is that you ran and that you finished.
Never Give Up Quotes
Just in case you need a little extra motivation and some inspiring words, here are a few quotes about the importance of never giving up
“There is no failure except in no longer trying.” – Elbert Hubbard
“Your hardest times will often lead to the greatest moments of your life. Keep going. Tough situations build strong people in the end.” – Roy T. Bennett
“Courage doesn’t always roar, sometimes it’s the quiet voice at the end of the day whispering ‘I will try again tomorrow”
― Mary Anne Radmacher
“When it comes to fighting for your dreams, be a dragon. Breathe fire.” ― Richelle E. Goodrich
“May you find the strength of will and the grace of endurance to overcome every challenge.” ― Lailah Gifty Akita
“Never give up on something you can’t go a day without thinking about.” – Winston Churchill
“Never give up, for that is just the place and time the tide will turn.” -Harriet Beecher Stowe
“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
The Importance of Not Giving Up – The Rest of the Story
I decided to bite the bullet, and share about the 5k on my personal Facebook Page. This is the post.
I did my first (virtual) 5k this morning. I know my time is not great, but I did slow jog most of the way. And I finished. A year ago a 5k was not even a thought. I thought anything faster than a walk = near-death experience.
The thing is, I came really close to not posting this at all. I got in the van afterward and fought back tears. ” Dead last,” my inner critic told me. “Your time is probably going to be dead last in the rankings. Why did you even try? All you did was embarrass yourself.” Inner critics can be pretty harsh, but they can be talked back to.
Who cares if I am dead last? Just one person – me. What matters is that I ran. It matters that I finished and my entry fee is going to help a baby that started his life in the NICU. what matters is that I didn’t quit. I rode the struggle bus for a while, but I kept on going. I didn’t get off and I finished jogging. Originally, I planned to do my first 5k for my 40th birthday because that was far enough off to not be too scary. I’m a year and a half ahead.
I would say this is where I start, but it’s not really. It’s a victory because when I started I couldn’t hardly jog farther than .25 miles. Y’all I just did 3.1 miles!! Me – the non-athletic, non-graceful person. I have also learned that those boundaries that I put on myself were never really there at all. Those things are skills you work at. What you work on gets better. Even if I am dead last, I will take that place proudly and cheer on all those that are ahead of me – because it means that I ran the race and that I finished.
The reactions that blew me away
It has gone bananas. It’s private, so it couldn’t go viral, but people that I had forgotten were on my friend list commented on it. They were congratulating me and cheering me on. Not a single one of them was negative or said anything about my slow time. Many of the ones that wrote the most encouraging comments were people that also ran that same 5k. These people were my friends that I thought I had let down. They weren’t running competitively against me, they were running WITH me.
The Importance of Not Giving UP – My Challenge For You
They didn’t see what I saw. They saw that I ran the race, I challenged myself, contributed to a great cause, and finished. Sometimes we are the hardest on ourselves. Others see where we won, only we see where we failed. I’d like to challenge you today to think of a time where you could have given up but didn’t. Even if it wasn’t as good as you wanted it to be, I want to challenge you to also take the win.
Special thanks to Leighann Johnston for her permission to share our texts in this post and for forcing me to take the win.
To quote her one last time “You are capable of so much more than you realize.” It’s true for me, and it’s true for you as well.
God bless and Happy Questing! Feel free to leave a comment below and share your own experiences. I love hearing from you!