When their success is also your success

Twenty-five-year-old Sam Kendricks is one of the world’s best pole vaulters, winning a bronze medal at the 2016 Olympics and five consecutive national titles. But what really makes him stand out is that as much as he wants to win, he cares so much about his sport that he’ll frequently share tips and advice with his competition, even during a meet.

As related in this recent New York Times piece:

“Kendricks could be mistaken for a coach rather than competitor by the way he interacts with opponents. During a recent meet in the Czech Republic, he gave tips to Ivan Horvat of Croatia and Shawn Barber of Canada. He encouraged his American teammate Scott Houston and cheered on his friendly rival Wojciekowski as the duo battled for the highest bar.”

While writing this blog every day for almost nine years, I’ve noticed a few emerging trends in both college admissions and the world outside of it, and one of the most consistent is how frequently the success of one person is tied to their willingness and ability to help those around them be successful, too.

I don’t necessarily expect a basketball player to help an opponent with their free throw form in the middle of a tight game. But whether you like golf or graphic design, debate or drama, timpani or tae kwon do, one of the most effective ways to honor your craft and to make an impact is to help others who are interested share the same joy and success.

I can’t think of a college that wouldn’t be impressed by an applicant who revealed that while they didn’t win the league pole vaulting championship, they helped the competitor who did.

The success is still yours when you help others achieve it.