I am a sham.

A couple of weekends ago a friend of mine sent me a text message to tell me that someone recognized his LHRL shirt while he was out shopping. A person that he did not know came up to him and said, “Von Ralls is a sham.” Then he just laughed and walked away. No other context. I thought it was funny. Either it was someone who actually thinks I am a sham or it was just a friend of mine making a joke. Perhaps we will never know. I suspect it was just a friend making a joke.

This weekend someone asked me if I would consider doing a little “life coaching” with them. I immediately switched into “imposter syndrome” mode and told myself that there is no way that I could possibly do any kind of “life coaching” with someone when I can barely get my own act together. I immediately thought back to the “sham incident.” Yes, maybe it was just a joke, but in a way that person was right. To some extent, I suppose I will always be a sham to someone. There will always be someone who thinks I’m a fraud or that I’m wrong about one thing or another. And I probably will be. I think that can be a good thing.

I don’t think I will ever be perfect or satisfied or comfortable. There will always be something else to achieve, something else to learn or someone who is angry or let down by something that I do. It is unavoidable. All of us will fail and all of us will be wrong about something at some point in our lives. If you are perfect and always right about everything, well, you’re wrong. Even if you are an “expert in your field,” you are going to get some things wrong. Maybe even a lot of things. But if you’re smart, you will take your failures and learn from them. If someone calls you out on something hopefully you will discuss it with them. If you are wrong, you will accept that, change your perspective and move on. It’s crazy how hard this concept appears to be for some people.

The point is that no matter what you do, someone is going to complain about it. If you put yourself out there in any way shape or form, someone is going to say something negative about it or make fun of you for it. Run your first 5k or even marathon, there is someone out there who will say it wasn’t fast enough or you did the wrong training program. Does that mean you shouldn’t go run a marathon? Nope. Have something you want to say? Start a podcast. Someone is going to tell you it sucks. Better yet though, someone is out there needing to hear what you have to say. That’s more important than anything else. Everyone has a story or some piece of advice that someone out there really needs to hear. We should share it with them.

Never let someone else decide whether or not what you are doing is ok. You are the only one that can decide that, and it doesn’t matter what anyone else in the world thinks. No matter where you are in your life, there is someone that could probably use your help. If you have the opportunity, you should definitely help them. Can you run a 6 minute mile? Someone really wants to learn how you did that. Can you run a 12 minute mile? Someone really wants to know how you did that. Show them. Can you deadlift 500 pounds? Someone wants to know how you did that. 300 pounds? 200 pounds? You get the picture I hope. You should go around encouraging people whenever you can, and if you catch yourself complaining about people that are out there doing stuff and trying to help people you should probably take some time to reevaluate some things. Focus on yourself and don’t worry about what other people are out there doing. Everyone has their own unique journey, get out there and enjoy yours.

Some days you are going to feel like a sham. Some days people might call you a sham, and you might even feel like you don’t even have your own act together. But it doesn’t matter because what is important is that you are out there doing your thing. Whatever your thing might be.