This op-ed appeared in The Indianapolis Star on Tuesday, Aug. 14.
A measure of success: Doing your best
By Bob Kennedy, a two-time Olympian and co-owner of BlueMile, an Indianapolis-based chain of running stores.
Last week, as my 7-year-old daughter and I watched the Olympics, she asked me if I had won all of my races before I got to the Olympics.
Sophia and her twin brother, Marcus, know that I competed in two Olympics, and that I placed sixth in the 5000 meters in 1996 and 12th in the same event in 1992. When I explained that, no, I lost quite a few races along the way, but also won quite a few, she processed that information for a moment and said, “That’s cool.” Then we watched some more of the Olympics.
I thought about that conversation the other day when Indiana Humanities President Keira Amstutz asked me to reflect on the topic of passion as part of her organization’s Spirit of Competition initiative. A two-year discussion about the role competition plays in our daily lives, Spirit of Competition looks at competition through five key aspects: passion, civility, rivalry, innovation and failure. (Learn more at SpiritofCompetition.org.)
So, why did I connect a chat on the couch with my daughter to the notion of competitive passion? Because passion is what drove me to push through all those losses to get to the victories, and it’s what keeps me pushing forward through the daily successes and failures of running a business.