Step by step

“100 meters left for you to reach your goal!” Her voice appeared around my ears.
Finally, I finished running a complete circle around the Huacheng Square. It was about 2.8km, maybe nothing for joggers, but already the longest distance I have ever run.

I knew I didn’t like jogging since the very beginning when I first ran 800 meters in the first grade of junior high school. I couldn’t even finish the 800 meters. Actually, I felt so exhausted at about 400 meters that I walked in the latter half of the way. I still remember that I was the last one among my classmates. I breathed heavily, with face turning red like an apple, both because of exhaustion and shame, but I appeared careless: I didn’t want my classmates to see through my embarrassment! When I became a bit peaceful, she touched my head and comforted me in a gentle voice: “it’s okay. It was your first time to run 800 meters. You don’t need to compete with others, just compete with yourself. Next time, just try to run a bit more, until you can finish running the whole way.” I nodded my head and told myself, just make progress little by little, step by step.

After a semester, finally I could finish running the whole 800 meters, but I was still among those who reached the terminus last.

Time flies to the third grade of junior high school. We need to prepare for the P.E. test of the high school entrance examination. Same as other classmates, I started to practice every day during the summer vacation. But once, after finishing running for 800 meters, I got such terrible pains in my belly that I couldn’t stand still. I crouched down, my face squeezed together due to the pain, big round sweats rolling down from my face and wet my T-shirt. She also crouched down and gave me a sympathized hug, then she said gently: “I know you are so painful, just rest for a few minutes until you feel you are okay. Tomorrow try to slow down your pace and adjust your breath. Maybe you will feel better.” I nodded my head but couldn’t utter a single word due to my pain. About 10 minutes later, I felt better, so I stood up and hobbled back home.
After a summer vacation, I made progress for about 20 seconds. During the P.E. test, I got my best grade ever, even though half of my classmates were better than me, but I remember her words: only compete with myself and make progress step by step.

When I entered senior high school, one day we ran 800 again. To my surprise, this time I ran faster than two-thirds of my classmates. Most of my classmates lagged behind for some reason, but I kept the same time. “See, never fear that you seem the last one. You only need to compete with yourself and stick to it, you will make progress.”

I didn’t run for almost 10 years after graduation from high school. Two months ago, I started to jog again. In the beginning, I simply wanted to run, no matter how much I can. The first time I ran for 1000 meters and my body got sore for a whole week. She showed up again and told me: “A good start is half done! Next time you can just run the same distance or run a bit longer if your body feels okay.” With a relatively good physical condition, I ran for 2 km the next time and found out surprisingly that my muscles weren’t as sore as those after the first time. Sometimes she also told me that: “no need to set a goal every time. The most important thing is to enjoy the process.” Once I felt like running fast so I sped up my pace. On hearing the wind singing around my ear: wow, it feels like I was flying, so free and light of my body! Without a clear plan, finally last weekend I managed to run a complete circle around the Huacheng Square, in a total of 2.8km.
“Congratulations! Hey, how about adding Haixinsha next time?” She smiled at me.

You may wonder who she is. Her name is Helen, yes, she is myself.
For more than 20 years of my life, she has always been accompanying me, listening to me, encouraging and helping me. I could have had so many brave tries and intriguing experiences because of her. On this occasion, I would like to give her a sincere hug gratefully: thank you, Helen, I will always memorize your words: even if you seem the last one, no worry, no fear, only compete with yourself, and you will make progress step by step.

This is a speech draft in Toastmasters. The project was about mentor. I was thinking who to talk about, I’ve got some very nice mentors, but I found myself might be the one who accompanied me the longest and knew me the deepest. I also kinda want to deliver such a message: even if you are in difficulties or troubles, of course, you can wait for other people to help you and save you, but the best way is always to help by yourself. Even if you ask for help, you need to make that step first. You know, you are always your best companion and mentor. Always trust yourself.