What success really looks like

As I swam toward the wall to finish my race, I felt that it had been a fast one. My technique had been steady; I felt good in the water; and I didn’t feel the exhaustion that usually overwhelmed me at the end of a race. But when I looked up at the board for my time, I saw that it was slow—slower than a race I had swum the year before, and much slower than my personal best. The disappointment was overwhelming.

Going into my second year on my college’s swim team, I’d been excited to push myself, and to set new personal records in my favorite races. That semester, however, I had a lot on my plate: classes, work, and rehearsals, on top of swimming. It seemed as if my busy schedule was taking a toll on my performance in the pool. I became frustrated with myself at every swim meet because my times just weren’t getting any faster. Despite my best efforts to manage my time and balance all that I had to do, I still saw my racing times suffering.

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