Happy News: Compassion Wins!

“Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectations of reward, save that one day someone might do the same for you.”

~Lady Diana Spencer, Princess of Wales

We all know how hard we train when we have a goal in sight.  Last summer, a news story caught my interest (along with many others) about someone running a race on a hot, summer day in Maine.

By the race’s end, it became about so much more than crossing the finish line. His journey was instead about what kind of people we all can become when we spend our lives doing what we truly love.

The Inspirational Story

Rob Gomez, age 34, was in the front of the pack while running in a 10K race in Maine this past August sponsored by TD Bank. There was one runner in front of him as he neared the finish line–Jesse Orach.

According to Orach, age 23, throughout the race, he and Gomez were vying for that first place spot, both doing their very best. The prize money for first was $1000, to say nothing of the rush of success that would come from becoming the winner.

As they neared the finish line, Orach pulled ahead with a sizable lead.

That’s when the story took a turn. Maybe it was the humidity. Maybe Orach had pushed himself too hard. Maybe it was just dumb luck. But about 50 meters before the finish, exhaustion overtook him, he stumbled and fell.

As Orach told the story, “I was so focused on getting to the finish line I stumbled forward for maybe another 10 feet and fell down again,” Orach said. “I didn’t have enough left in the bank to stand up again.”

As Orach was experiencing defeat, a hard-earned goal slipping from his reach, another runner’s opportunity, equally well-earned, fell into place.

As Gomez reached the same point in the race, the finish line in his reach, he noticed Orach there on the ground. He could have sprinted to the finish to be the clear and fair victor. Instead, as Orach tells it, “I felt him grab my shirt and pull me up.”

Instead of running past Orach to victory, Gomez stopped, lifted Orach to his feet and held him upright as they, together, completed the more than 50 meters of the race’s end.

It was when they reached the finish line, Gomez did the true victorious act. What seemed like without a second thought, he gave Orach a final nudge forward to make sure he finished first.

For Gomez, who has a website through which he coaches other runners, it wasn’t just about this particular race. It seemed to be that his inner knowledge of who we really is, his beliefs, and his love of running led him, every step of the way, to this seemingly automatic act.

“It happens all the time. People help other people out in other races. Maybe they don’t carry someone, but everyone wants others to succeed,” said Gomez.

Four Important Take-Aways

I love this story because it teaches some important lessons about what it means to be “Happy To Be You.”

Giving ourselves permission to find our “thing,” do what we love often, figure out our life motto and use that as a guide through life increases the chance that we too will perform beautiful, random, spontaneous acts of generosity, like Gomez, when we are in the right place at the right time.

Here are four important life lessons I’m taking away from Gomez’s act of kindness.

#1: It’s About Doing What We Love

When we have found something we love to do, that we do for the sake of flow, joy and passion, it’s not just about winning. First and foremost, it’s about the joy of doing it. When we are happy, we receive all that feel-good energy that comes from being in flow. We often have enough leftover to help others too, and make a positive difference.

#2: Doing Our Inner Work Makes Us Better People

Rob Gomez didn’t get to a place in his life where he was willing to do this without doing his own honest reflection. In this 2013 profile, he shares a turning point where, alone in a restaurant while traveling to compete in a race, he realized his passion for winning had overtaken his passion for running. The more honest we can be with ourselves about when our life is out of alignment, and the more willing we are to do what it takes to make changes, the better our lives become in the long run.

#3: No Such Thing as Competition (Really!)

Two people running along the same road, doing the same thing have very different stories and journeys. No matter who finishes first or gets more accolades, money or attention, both are winners because the doing is its own reward.

#4: Doing our “Thing” Boosts Compassion

When we do our “thing”–we ultimately come to face our own demons, our own runner’s wall, our own darkness within. Going for any goal, especially one we care deeply about, brings us up against challenges we must overcome in order to reach the finish line.  As a result, we often develop more empathy for others when they hit theirs. When we know what it feels like to dig deep, and are more able to help others along the way.

“As runners, we understand, we pick each other up and help each other,” said Gomez.

If you want to check out the story yourself, check out the links below. They are worth a look. And, here’s Gomez’s website if you are a runner looking for support from someone who’s been through it himself.

Want More? Check These Out

Check out this video about the race!

Read the full article here

More about heroic race

More Good News Stories

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