Story Mic

    Realizing the Benefits of Challenging Yourself


    When you have an opportunity to push yourself, do you give up before you begin? Camden’s story of participating in high school track and discovering the value of a challenge may inspire you to give it your all next time.

    Camden Bernatz preferred to play basketball and football when he was a teen, but he excelled in track. He went to the state-wide track meet every year in high school, though he never medaled. In his last year of school, he had to decide whether he would continue playing the sports he loved most or put all of his energy into succeeding as a track star.

    Excited by the challenge to test his talent, Camden chose track. He made a goal to earn a medal before the season was over. At the state meet that year, he earned sixth place—the last of the medal positions. He had accomplished his goal and learned something surprising about himself.

    “As I sat there at the end of my track meet on the bleachers, I felt relieved. … But I also felt this sadness that this thing that had always been my challenge—kind of my enemy—was gone, and it was something that had pushed me,” he recalls.

    The confidence and perspective Camden gained as an athlete now guides his hard work in his schooling, his career, and his relationships.

    How have personal challenges and successes made you a better version of yourself? Do you have a story you want to share? Send your recording to

    Story Mic is a weekly podcast featuring uplifting, entertaining stories from people like you around the world. It is now available for download on iTunes.