If you look at statistics from the 2008 Big Ten Championship, you will see Heather (Dorniden) Kampf won first place in the 600 meter dash. What they won’t tell you is that during the final 200 meters, Heather tripped and fell just as she was making her way into the lead. With a view from the rear of the pack, she could have cheered on her teammate who had taken the lead or fought to make a comeback. Like Heather, we can each probably recall a time when we found ourselves down while the race continued to go on without us. During these times, the choice is ours as to whether or not we let discouragement and defeat take over, or pick up where we left off to complete the task with all that we have. After all, a setback is a setup for a comeback.
Well-known author and blogger Michael Hyatt faced the same challenges in the workplace and ultimately beat projections because he chose to not throw in the towel. He highlights the following three reasons to stay in the game when facing a major setback:
- Staying in the game builds our character. Very often in those moments where we are tempted to bail, our character is at stake. Character isn’t fixed. As Oscar Wilde said, it’s made and unmade by our decisions.When we push through difficulty and see things to the end, we grow. We develop our character in a positive way. When the urge to walk off the field comes—and it will—ask yourself what kind of person you really want to be.
- Staying in the game tests our true abilities. Whatever we think about ourselves or the future, if we walk off the track, we never really know what we’re capable of or what’s truly possible.Kampf could have finished without giving it her all, and no one probably would have noticed—except her. Instead, she marshaled her strength and found out what her true potential was.
And it surprised her. “That last 50 meters, I hit a gear that I never knew I had. There’s always another gear… I always tell myself I can push through. There’s always more to discover. I like to put myself on the edge and find out what I’m made of.”
- Staying in the game impacts others. Kampf wasn’t just running for herself. She was running for her team, for her school, for her family and community. The impact of her decision was far-reaching—even down to us discussing it today.There’s something at stake in every decision to stay in the game that goes well beyond ourselves. Quitting not only robs ourselves of needed character development and a deeper understanding of ourselves, it has an immeasurable impact on those around us.