Why I Choose to be a Tortoise and a Hare – My Race is Different Than Yours
I remember learning about Aesop’s Fables when I was in second grade. The most notable fable is the Tortoise and the Hare. In short, the super slow tortoise challenges the supersonic hare to a race. The hare is confident. So confident that he decided to take a nap during the race. The tortoise ends up crossing the finish line before the hare as a result. The moral of the story? “Slow and steady wins the race.”
The Tortoise Spirit
It wasn’t until recently that I started feeling like a tortoise. (Your twenties have a way of doing that to you.) I’ve been out of college for two years and most of the ladies in my education cohort are in their 3rd year of teaching. Meanwhile, I’m on my sixth job in the two years I’ve been out of college. On top of that, I have yet to complete a full year of teaching. It’s easy for me to compare myself to other people who are “further along” than I am. But if I ran my race at the same pace as everyone else, my life would be totally different.
I have goals and I will achieve my goals. If I have to ride on the struggle bus there, I’m content with that. By moving slower, I have the ability to really take in my journey. Moving slower also allows for more distractions. Distractions can be negative, but they can also provide the opportunity to discover a new skill or meet a new person to add to your cheering squad.
The Hare Isn’t All Bad
I do my best to see the good in everyone and this is no different. The hare is confident, lightning fast, and knows how to take a break (something I need to learn how to do).
Think about this. Most musicians release an album, then they promote it non-stop. You see them on every TV show and hear them on every radio station. They’re performing on every music award show and every other night while on their multi-city tour. And after a year or two of going nonstop, they basically fall off of the face of the earth. During their time away from the spotlight they are still making money and they aren’t worried about who is going to “catch up” with them. When they make their return, their fans are still there for them and the cycle repeats.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with acknowledging that you are better at something than someone else. In fact, if you have a talent, you should embrace it and share it with the world. That’s exactly what the hare did. The only thing I would discourage is arrogance as it was the hare’s fatal flaw. Be confident, but stay humble. Just be careful not to downplay yourself in the process.
You Need to Have a Hare to Tortoise Ratio
When it comes to using technology, I can learn something new in a few minutes. I’m great at using the internet to find solutions to my problems. If you want me to fix a car, I’m tortoise all the way. But believe me you, I’ll use Google and YouTube to figure out how to fix it and it’ll be done correctly. I have to rely on my hare instincts to get me through my tortoise moments.
My current position as a reading interventionist was designed for someone with years of teaching experience and degrees for days. But there I was interviewing for a job that I wasn’t exactly qualified for. I was honest that I wasn’t as knowledgeable about the subject matter (my tortoise), but my creativity, my work ethic, willingness to learn, and my youth (my hares) got me through the door. Fast forward a few months later, everywhere I turn, someone is telling me how awesome of a job I’m doing. If I counted myself out before I even tried, God only knows where I would be. I realized that I can’t let my deficits outshine my strengths.
Although the tortoise and the hare are different, both understood what they were capable of and they were confident in their abilities. The hare knew he could move fast and had no worries. The tortoise knew he moved slower, but he didn’t care. He was passionate about finishing the race, not how long it took him to do so. Self-awareness and confidence go hand in hand. You need both in order to finish your race.
At the End of the Day, We’re All Running a Different Race
With social media, it’s easier to feel “behind”. A lot of my internet friends are super ambitious and jumping over all types of hurdles, while sometimes I feel like I’m gasping for air. I’m guilty of being so busy watching another person’s race that I’ve ended up tripping over my own feet in the process. I’ve learned that one person’s finish line might be another person’s mid-point. One person’s victory might feel like defeat to someone else. We all want to obtain success, but success doesn’t feel the same for everyone. Your finish line is for you and you only. My finish line is for me and me only. It makes it easier to cheer for someone else when you don’t see them as your competition.
It’s okay to be a tortoise. It’s okay to be a hare. It’s okay to be both. Fast or slow it doesn’t matter.
As long as you finish the race.
Are you a tortoise, a hare, or both? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Leave me a comment below.