I used to wonder how much more get-up-and-go I had.
But not anymore.
Every time I think I can’t get up again, I find energy comes from within that allows me to get up and do incredible things.
Like getting up when knocked down by doubt and discouragement. Like rising when I trip over the same obstacles again and again. Like falling flat on my face when my energetic enthusiasm runs faster than my legs have strength.
That’s an incredible thing to do!
It’s incredibly important I can recognize this strength in myself. It’s also incredibly important you can recognize that same strength inside yourself.
The spirit inside of you is stronger than you may realize. It is that spirit that also gives you the strength to rise each you time you are down.
Your spirit also helps you recognize the encouragement you receive from others and the eternal assistance you receive from that higher power in your life who magnifies your abilities, helping you rise with a smile of determination.
This perspective also helps us show others the way we have traveled that they may better climb the hills we have conquered.
Chari Hawkins is such an example.
I first met Chari when she was a student-athlete at Utah State University where she was on her way to becoming a world-class heptathlete.
In 2014, Chari “earned first-team all-Mountain West honors after placing first and setting both the school and conference record in the pentathlon with 4,173 points at the Indoor Championships.”
A HEPTATHLETE is a track and field athlete who competes in seven events: 100 Meter Hurdles, High Jump, Shot Put, 200 Meters, Long Jump, Javelin Throw, and 800 meters.
After Utah State Chari moved to England where she competed for the University of Bath. In her final competition in May 2018, Chari “smashed a record that had stood for nearly three decades when she claimed a runaway heptathlon victory at the England Athletics Combined Events Championships in Bedford.”
Today, Chari is actively training for the 2020 Olympics. Yes, those Olympics!
Chari didn’t reach the Olympic level by quitting when things got hard. Nor did she soar to the top ranks of her profession by staying down when she didn’t make it onto the medal stand.
Chari reached this level by consistently getting back up. She has an incredible chance of being part of Team USA because she chose to turn off the doubting voices and focus on telling herself a great story.
She trains hard!
She works hard!
She gets back up!
But she also did something else that surpasses all her of incredible medals.
She stooped down and lifted another person.
Here are the details of that moment, as shared by the Deseret News.
“At the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships on June 13, 2014, Hawkins was competing in the 800 meters segment of the women’s heptathlon when she saw Georgia’s Kendall Williams trip and fall in the middle of the race. Hawkins slowed down to offer assistance and encouragement to her fellow competitor, clapping her hands and helping Williams up off the track. Williams recovered and finished the race, eventually winning the national championship in the heptathlon. Hawkins, who went on to finish 13th in the 800 meters with a personal-best time of 2:24.13, ended up with a ninth-place finish in the heptathlon to earn second-team All-American honors. Helping her competitor possibly cost Hawkins a first-team All-American accolade, as she ended the event just one spot and six points shy of the top-eight finishers.
“Honestly, it was just instinct for me to offer encouragement to Kendall and make sure she was OK,” Hawkins said. “At first, I thought someone had tripped her and that made me mad. I have had really good role models in my life. My parents are very humble and I think I have surrounded myself with good people, which is a big reason why I am who I am today.”
For her selfless efforts that day, Chari was recognized by being awarded the NCAA Student-Athlete Sportsmanship Award.
Chari is an incredible example of lifting and encouraging others in her daily life. Her journey has been a consistent inspiration to me for several years. I’m honored to be her friend.
Her journey of encouraging and lifting others has inspired this little gem.
RISE WITH A SMILE
By Les Patterson
When you stumble and fall
Rise with a smile of determination.
When you compete well but not quite well enough
Rise with a smile hoping to do better.
When you have earned a spot on the medal stand
Rise with a smile of hope for those striving to also get there.
When you stand on top of the podium
Rise with a smile of gratitude for the help along the way.
When you contemplate the journey ahead
Rise with a smile determined to enjoy each step.
Have a great Monday! Thanks for letting me share.
p.s. Take 13 minutes today to be aware of those who inspire you and those who you inspire.
Photos Courtesy Chari Hawkins
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