Last week, I turned on the tv in the middle of an interview with Michael Phelps. I wasn't planning on keeping it on but it was in the background while I searched through the guide and nothing jumped out at me. Generally these interviews cover how awesome he is and all the records he's broken etc. This interview was no exception; but it got a little more nuanced than normal. Bob Costas made a comment type question about how Michael Phelps has said in the past he doesn't feel like he fits in with the rest of the swim team, how he's kind of the odd man out but that this year seems to be different. Phelps agreed and attributed the difference to being named captain. He made a comment that both shocked and resonated with me. He said, "I thought who's gonna vote for me for captain? Nobody's gonna vote for me."
Y'all this man who wrecked all the former records and forever set new standards for the sport of swimming is insecure. This seemingly affable, easygoing man didn't think anyone would vote for him. I am so humbled by that. Sometimes it's easy to forget that the heroes of the world are insecure like us mere mortals. Sometimes it's easy to forget that our peers feel the same insecurities we do.
I'm also comforted by it. There's something wonderful in finding out about someone's vulnerabilities. I mean nobody really likes the person who has it together all the time, do we? It's the same reason why we root for the underdog. Flawed heroes are easier to root for. Flawed villains are harder to hate. The beauty of the human story isn't in perfection; it's in striving for perfection and failing but trying again.
I don't have a lot to say this Monday evening but I did want to share that story and the truth I learned from it. Go do all the things and make mistakes. Maybe you will be voted captain and maybe you won't. Maybe you'll get success in the eyes of the world but have to wait til your fourth Olympics to be the Captain and become the Flag Bearer. That's okay. It's what makes your story interesting. Be beautiful in your flaws and insecurities.