Opinion: An Iditarod dilemma

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We all seek success. Right? Well, can we agree that we all want to be able to keep up with the achievement of those closest to us? Being valued as a member of the crew, or family, or dog-sled team, is important to our ego – and to our general well-being. If the lead dog is able to run for 20 miles and if we are pulling the same sled, then anything less would hold back the top achiever.

So, how do we keep up? We can practice and push ourselves to performance consistent with that front canine. Such may be the best and most honorable way to prove our worth to the collective. But, what if we’re not able (or willing) to exert the effort required to be a mutual contributor to the effort? In that case, perhaps our strength comes from some other special skill. Our inability to run the course might be off-set by our ability to get the most out of the other dogs. While our best running days are over, we’ve become highly adroit at logistics, sled maintenance, or nutrition. We are the team’s secret weapon.

Yet sometimes, our inclusion only debilitates the work of the others. Our failure to know and admit our own limitations becomes a drain on the contributions of the rest. We can guilt or cajole the team into keeping us. We can undermine the confidence of the top performers to hold on a bit longer. But, the truth may be that we should simply retire.

Are we keeping up, contributing, or getting in the way? The best among us ask this question routinely in the course of life’s winding journey. It helps us correct and focus our effort. And, it can make us confront our own uncomfortable truths – good and bad. It’s an Iditarod dilemma.

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