Getting to the Top
We’d been climbing all day long, and the wheels on my bike had seen better days. Today’s stage would finish at the top of the mountain and then a well-deserved rest would follow. Knowing I had only a mile left to go, I set my sights on the road ahead, and the three cyclists in front of me.
Maybe it was the fatigue, or maybe it was my imagination, but when I looked up ahead and saw the three remaining opponents, I saw words on their back. A closer examination revealed that each one had a single word in big bright letters stretched between their shoulders. Directly in front of me was the first opponent wearing the label “ Good.” In front of him was the opponent labeled “Great,” and the person in the lead wore the label “Excellent.” I thought to myself, “where do I fall in this group?” I decided I needed to find out.
I had little time to think about what I had done thus far, it was much too important to focus on what I was going to do now! If I wanted to reach the top first, I would have to do much better than “Good.” I tightened my grip on the handlebars and drove my heels into the pedals. My speed increased and I pulled onto the left side of “Good.” Digging into every stroke, I quickly pulled up beside Good, and then it hit me; I was much better than good! Not missing a beat, I pushed thru the strokes and before I knew it, I passed him. I moved back into the right lane and reflected on my victory.
Second later, my focus shifted to Great. If I wanted to reach the top first, I would have to be better than Great as well. So with the same tenacity as before, I rose out of the seat and crushed the pedals. I pushed as hard as I could and though I made progress, I could see that Great was much harder to pass than Good. But I didn’t give up, and the hard work paid off. I was there, beside Great. He looked at me and saw without a doubt that I was not satisfied here. I still needed to be better than Great. Seconds later, I pulled ahead and took my new place in front of Great.
In the last few minutes I had eaten up half the distance to the top. One person left between the top and myself. Excellent rode strong and I could see that his strength was only equal to his confidence. He turned back to look at his follower He smiled at me, and then turned back front. I knew that if I would ever win this, I would need to attack strong. There would be no time for chatting or even thinking, I just needed to throw everything I had into the climb and let my body do the rest. Without hesitation, I jumped out of the seat and began my attack.
Completely shocked at my attempt, Excellent found himself caught off guard. As I slingshot’d past him, he tried to recover, but it was too late. I had the upper hand and I gained distance with every pedal stroke. In a matter of seconds I had the lead, and after almost a minute, I had made enough gain to seal the deal. The hill was mine and today I owned the stage.
I managed to look ahead and there it was. The finishline. Fifty yards from my grasp, it stretched across the road in the form of a yellow ribbon. As I gleamed with pride and exhaustion, I felt a shift in my bike. Before I could react, my bike collapsed. The abuse I had put on it in the last mile proved to be too much. I never felt pain from the fall, at least nothing external. Instead, I felt pain within. I had worked so hard that day and had proven that I was better than Good, better than Great, and better than Excellent. How could, after all of that, it not be enough?
As I laid stretched across the road, I heard nothing around me. The world was silent, except the sound of my own spirit screaming for me to “GET UP!” But a closer look at my bike revealed that it had been rendered useless by the fall. I changed my focus from the bike, to the opponents whose position I had taken moments earlier. They saw the fall, and were all coming towards me at full speed. They saw an opportunity and were ready to take it.
Suddenly, my inner voice took control. It said that if I was better than Good, Great, and Excellent, than what must I be? In the standards of life, when you are “almost” to the top, what does it take to get you there? One word came to mind, and it was that one word that I knew I possessed within myself, otherwise I would not have made it this far. So like any champion would do, I stood up, wiped the dirt and blood from my knees, picked up my broken bike, andstarted running towards the top. Race rules state that a cyclist must past the finish line “with” their bike, and not necasarily “on” it.
At this point, win lose or draw, I was being my best. I was being unstoppable. No amount of pain, no amount of bad luck was going to keep me from finishing this the way I started it. And when I reached the last 5 yards, I knew I had done it. I leaped forward and broke thru the yellow ribbon. Only a few feet behind me were my three opponents Good, Great, and Excellent. Any thoughts they had about why I was able to do what I did, were quickly put to rest, because just like them I too wore a label. And when they saw it, they knew that today like any other day, OUTSTANDING was better than Good, Great, Or Excellent.
When you’ve done your best, and have outdone Good, Great, And Excellent…………That’s when you really have to start working. Outstanding is a higher standard and it takes courage, tenacity, and determination to get to this level. Anyone can be less than that, only a few find the guts to rise above and take what’s theirs! So the next time you feel excellent………….. get off your ass, pick up the bike, and be OUTSTANDING!
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