Why is it that being part of a strong team can be one of the most rewarding experiences of our lives, while being a part of a bad team can be so disheartening and demoralizing? So often we think of a team in the context of sports, but in reality our daily lives are full of interaction with various teams. A group at the University of Washington defined a “team” as “a group of people with different skills and different tasks who work together on a common project, service, or goal, with a meshing of functions and mutual support.” Working in a team environment isn’t just for kids or group projects in college, we are part of teams every day!
Endurance sports are a very individualistic endeavor. Training for an endurance event requires many hours of exercising, often done solo in the early morning or late-night hours. It can be a mind-numbing process that is harder on the mind than it is on the body. In college, I spent a whole cross-country season doing solo training with a personal coach rather than running with the team. It worked pretty well and I got faster, but at what cost? The cost was that running wasn’t fun anymore. It became a job, a chore, something that separated me from my teammates I lined up with on race day instead of bringing me closer to them. There is something powerful about enduring suffering with friends by your side and working together to accomplish a similar goal. Even if the goal is a personal one, the journey towards it is much more rewarding with a team around you.
The motto of our athletes here at Paragon Training is “In Pursuit of Excellence.” The somewhat ambiguous goal of “excellence” is our project, our mission as humans to chase after every day. The beauty of a team is that each team member has different gifts and talents to offer to the other members of the team. It’s the collection of diverse people coming together that allows us to support one another, cheer for one another, and push one another to be the best we can be. Every member of a team has value because they make the people around them better, and their teammates do the same for them.
2017 was a year of incredible growth in the team culture here at Paragon Training. The accolades and accomplishments of our athletes aside, it’s the relationships we have formed that I treasure above and beyond anything else. Going fast is certainly fun, but being able to share in the ups and downs of life with supportive people around you is a value that’s immeasurable. As we look forward to 2018 and what it brings, I hope we never become an organization that is looked on as exclusive or elite. Paragon is just one small subset in the large community of endurance athletes who share the common goal of being the best they can be. There is no final destination in this journey towards excellence, but we look forward to the chase and striving towards that goal with our teammates by our side.
“Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence.”