Back then failure never seemed to knock me down. I always got right back up (even if that literally meant falling down during a performance or practice - or not placing as high as I had hoped after months of training). I didn't care what other people thought of me. I was young. I was proud. No one could take that from me.
It wasn't until my twenties that a different kind of competition took over my life. Pressure to land a great job and make a name for myself. Being able to tell my friends and family what I was "doing for a living" seemed like an accomplishment in itself. So I kept pushing myself. Climbing the corporate ladder was the new challenge. It became my priority. Not only because I was learning so much and had more responsibility, but because I could tell people. I was still strong - but in a new way.
Then once I had children, I felt a rush of excitement I had never felt before. I immediately loved them so much and never thought I'd love anything as much again. And I still haven't. Not even close. My responsibilities have changed (as they do) and my competitive edge in life has become even clearer.
My role as a mother has been the most challenging yet. It is very different to what I thought growing up. In fact, if you had of asked me years back, I would have told you that I didn't think I'd have children. There was no time.
But life works in mysterious ways. The competition I deal with today is within me. The expectations on my personal abilities to be a good parent have changed me - and I am OK with that. I still push myself in all areas of my life and try not to compare myself to other more seemingly capable moms - but that can be challenging. The good news is that I am confident in myself to take on the experience.
What are the biggest challenges in your life? Have they changed? Have you changed as a result? Write them down and think about how you've grown as a person to get to where you are today.