Becoming a Leader: More Than Being The Best

By Abigail Gibbons

On November 4, 2018, tears swelled up in my eyes as I ran hand in hand with my twin sister. I was salty with the sweat of 26.2 miles, consumed with numbness in my legs and overwhelmed with emotion of what I was accomplishing as I crossed the blue finish line of the New York City Marathon. 


Months of training alongside my Dad and running friends, and years of self-talk of “I could never do a marathon” all came together in this moment: I experienced the most empowering feeling and sense of self-pride that I had ever felt. 


Two years before this moment, I had moved to a new city — New York. I began working and meeting friends, but also felt a loss of identity after no longer competing as an athlete. I was also seeking a sense of community. So to find this, I started running.


I found a free run club at Lululemon, just down the street on the Upper West Side that changed my life and gave me the community I had been looking for. Year after year, I saw my fellow runners compete in the NYC Marathon, and in 2016 I laughed when my friends asked me if I would ever run a marathon. 


In 2018, I cried as I crossed the finish line.


As I ran these countless miles, struggled and doubted if I could complete it, there is one phrase that I pondered throughout the race: my friends’ and peers’ words of, “You are so inspiring, Abby.” 


Me? I thought, inspiring? 


I realized, you don’t have to be an elite athlete or professional athlete to inspire others. Before this, I had always felt I had to be the best in order to be a leader or to encourage my peers around me.


Now, I have learned that you don’t have to be the best to be a leader or to motivate others. In fact, you don’t even have to be a professional, elite or any other stereotype you may associate with being the best. 


I believe the ones who inspire us the most are those who are like us, everyday humans who live, work and breathe among us and achieve something incredible. 


My dad inspired me by not letting his age or work impact his ability to complete a marathon, while I inspired my friends because I showed them that you don’t have to be the best to achieve the unthinkable. We are all capable of achieving what we may see as unreachable goals and greatness – and, the best way to find this inspiration is by looking at those around you. 


Mpowher gives us a community of females who all have achieved what at some point felt impossible, so, my advice to you is spread this to your own communities…. and lead. 


This article was originally posted on Mpowher athlete.


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