There are some impressive bios out there.
Not the 300-page kind. (There are plenty of those. They just aren’t the subject of this story.) But the 300-word online bio that ends with schools attended, spouse married, children had, and, perhaps, dog or – once in a blue moon – bird owned.
I’ve read quite a few of these 300-worders. Sitting on my bed with a computer on my lap. Trying to understand how others have climbed so high in the world.
In these bios, people leap from mountain top to mountain top. Muscly, brilliant bastions of Accomplishment. Character. And Ever-Ascending Glory:
Billions of dollars generated! Groundbreaking inventions patented! Countless awards won!
There in my bed, my eyes get bigger. And my confidence gets smaller. Because who am I?
My name’s not on marquees or Top 40 Under 40 lists. I’ve botched projects and missed opportunities. Gotten into hot water and been burned. Said no out of fear and yes out of a desire to please.
And I end up feeling like an ant reading the bios of giants.
But all that’s an unkind way to think about ourselves. And an incomplete way.
That thinking isn’t the full story of who we are. And those bios aren’t the full story of who those people are.
Comparing ourselves to others can make us forget a lot about who we are.
Forget things like the mountains we’ve climbed; how we’ve fallen hard and still stood back up; the lives we’ve touched; the hands we’ve held; the moments that – scared, tired, maybe both – we’ve shown up. We forget all the times we, as Brian Andreas and Neil Young would say, walked like giants.
On my bed, surrounded by 300-word bios, I tell myself: We must remember those times. Must remember to tell our full story. Must remember to be kind to ourselves.
And we must continue to walk like giants.