Are you giving it your all?

I might have already blogged about this and if so, sorry! But I was outside running the other day and thought back to something a coach told me in high school.  I had just finished running a 5k and was extremely disappointed in myself.   When I had been running the course I felt great and then I finished and learned what my time was.  It was about 2 minutes worse then what my PR had been.  I was bummed out and just generally beating myself up over it.

I was sitting alone, finishing out my stretches and figuring out what I had done differently to make myself suck so badly.  He came up to me and asked me how I did.  Well, I rattled off the numbers and was going on to say that I would be practicing even harder in the next week.  He told me he was glad that I was going to practice harder but also let me know he didn’t care about the numbers.  What he wanted to know was how I did.  I gave him that blank stare that high schooler’s excel at and rattled off the numbers again.  He then sat down next to me and explained the best advice I was given (okay some of the best advice).

He wanted to know how I felt about the race—he had the numbers but what really mattered was how I felt.  Did I feel like I had given it my all? Or did I feel like I hadn’t given any effort at all to it?  When I said that I had given it my all and couldn’t have given any more, he nodded and said, “That’s what matters.  Time is just a number.  If you had beat your PR by 5 minutes and could have done better-then it didn’t mean anything.  You ran your heart out and feel like you couldn’t have done any more.  It’s a new course—different hills, a different temperature today than it was two weeks ago, and other factors affect that time.  What it doesn’t affect is how you feel about your run.”

For me, this is perfect advice.  And it applies to so much more than just running.   Are you saving as much as you can? Or do you know that you could do better?  Because while you can lie to yourself, you’ll usually be able to tell that you are lying.  (I always knew that my justifications were worthless but I said them to myself anyways to make me feel better).   I feel great about saving for my wedding even though I’m not out of debt.  I’m slowly saving, slowly paying off debt, but I’m still having fun.

It’s advice that I wish I would have remembered after I was out of high school.  It might have saved me some money in the long run!

How about you? Any advice that was given to you that you still remember and refer back to?

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26 Comments on “Are you giving it your all?”

  1. Rachel says:

    Good post!

  2. belowhermeans says:

    That is a great coach. This could be one of those sappy e-mail forwards, it’s so sweet.

  3. addvodka says:

    This is great advice, and it sounds like you have a great coach. Beating yourself up about things that you could not have improved because you tried your best is futile.

  4. Loved this post… That’s good wisdom from your coach!

    My friend has a saying, “Set the bar low, and you’ll always exceed your expectations,” but like you said in regards to saving money, this type of philosophy could set you back in the long run.

    • bogofdebt says:

      Thanks so much. I always had low expectations of saving my money and I always met those expectations. But now I’m all about saving any amount I can.

  5. Words to live by! As a runner, I’ve been in those same shoes before. I used to measure my running times religiously, and would always feel like I’d cheated myself if I didn’t run to my normal pace. Then I started running with a friend who didn’t measure any of his times. He just ran because he loved to run. As long as he was enjoying the run, then he kept running. That grew on me and eventually I ditched the metrics. Now I find running so much more enjoyable. Sometimes setting goals can do just the opposite of what we want it to do.

    • bogofdebt says:

      I have been trying to not pay attention to times and stuff on the treadmill or outside. I find I do enjoy my run a lot more if I just run how I feel like running. I also get more out of it.

  6. I’m a runner too and a very competitive person in general. It’s very hard for me to lose at anything (yep I’m a sore loser LOL) so I know what it’s like to give it my all, and be beaten at something. I used to be really angry about it and I would get frustrated. But I just learned to live with it because that’s how life works. I can’t get mad over everything! Also when I know I’ve given it my all and my full effort, that’s when I am really proud of myself and nothing that anyone else does can take that away from me!

    • bogofdebt says:

      Exactly! I try not to be competitive but sometimes its SOO hard. I am the person who was just bragging to my boyfriend that I beat his score at Angry Birds. Why? I have no idea. I know that when I was job searching I would get so upset when I gave the best interview ever and didn’t recieve the job. But I learned to get over it and now have a job that I really love.

  7. Great post! As a runner currently training for my first 10k, I totally understand this. My times lately have been slower even though I’ve been putting the same level of effort in. Instead of blaming myself, I’m learning to just put in the work, and not worry about the times.

  8. This is great advice – you had a smart coach. 🙂 It definitely made me think about how we’re doing financially… and we’re not giving it our all right now.

    • bogofdebt says:

      He was a great coach. And I wasn’t for the longest of times but I think it’s more important that we realize the mistakes and learn from them than never making mistakes.

  9. Alice says:

    This is an awesome post and great advice. I had a high school teacher (the band director) who was awesome at advice and made a huge impact in my life. Your story just brought back those memories.

    Have you told this coach how much his words meant to you? I ask because my band director died several years ago and I would hate to think that I hadn’t let him know how important he was to me. After high school I made sure he knew I treasured his involvement in my life. A few of us visited him in his last few months – he had an invasive brain tumor and was going downhill fast.

    Sorry, my comment doesn’t have a thing to do with personal finance, but it is personal. And generally, we should all be sharing with those who are important to us the fact that they are important to us. Don’t take it for granted that they know.

    • bogofdebt says:

      I did thank him at my graduation and let him know how much that advice had helped me in all areas of my life. And I do know how short time can be–which is why I try to let those who are close to me know every day how much I appreciate them. Time passes far too quickly.

  10. Your coach was right — if you’re pushing yourself, and doing the best you can, you are hitting your goals.

  11. The best piece of advice I’ve received is to never say no. That doesn’t mean to let people take advantage of you. It means doing not only things you WANT to do, but things you DON’T want to do as well. If you do things other people don’t want to do, eventually you will be noticed. And it doesn’t hurt to be known for having a good work ethic!

  12. […] at Bog of Debt, this post really resonated with me, and not just because I’m a runner. Are we giving it our all? Or are we fooling ourselves? Now, I know this much – Bruce & I cannot sustain […]

  13. […] Bog of Debt had my favorite read of the week… she’d received  great advice in the past that actually applies to everything, including finances!  We learned that it’s not  about the numbers… it’s about giving it everything you’ve got! […]

  14. […] of Debt wrote how important it is to give your all in every situation in life. Most frequent […]

  15. JW Ginn says:

    I love the illustration. It’s so easy to get bogged down in the numbers and forget (both good and bad) what they represent. I have been looking at the enormity of my debt and realizing that every dollar paid represents one step closer to debt freedom! I cannot wait but I celebrate the story that comes out of it.

    • bogofdebt says:

      That’s what I remind myself of every time I put anything towards debt–it doesn’t matter how little it is because it’s getting me closer. Slowly but surely!

  16. […] to comment, but she’s obviously smarter than me full of willpower.Bog of Debt asks, are you giving it your all? When it comes to this blog, I have to say no! This was a fantastic post that reminded me I need to […]


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