Last night, I watched Katie Ledecky, Lilly King, and Michael Phelps, the old and new generations of elite US Swimming, compete at the highest level at the Olympics.
There is something so inspiring and humbling about watching someone compete at the highest level and achieve their ultimate goal. At the same time, a lot of us have the temptation to think about these elite performers, whether it's swimmers or another sport, musicians, actors, artists, entrepreneurs, and successful people in business, as being "gifted" more than anyone else, or as "having more opportunities." Or we even sometimes think that they are "overnight successes."
One of my favorite Tony Robbins quotes brings this back to a humbling reality check.
"People are rewarded publicly for what they practiced for years privately." -Tony Robbins
The fact is, when we are talking about an elite performer across any profession, they have put in the time, effort, and sacrifice it takes to achieve their ultimate goals. Sure, maybe some of them had some natural talent or another slight advantage initially. But vision, commitment, and hard work always catch up to talent and any other advantage left untrained, unimproved, and outworked.
The elite performers are willing to do more, prepare more, commit more, practice more, and push themselves more than the rest. They have extreme clarity of their ultimate goal and the reasons why they want it. And they have pursued this goal relentlessly without letting obstacles, adversity, or circumstances outside of their control get in their way.
How can you become an "Olympian"? You have to figure out what your ultimate goals are, the goals that would inspire such fierce passion and commitment in you that no one can stop you. That no one can touch you. That when anyone tells you you're not good enough, smart enough, strong enough, fast enough, or talented enough, this serves as fuel to your fire.
Finding our Olympic Goal is not an overnight process either. Passion is earned and developed over time. You can point yourself in the right direction with questions like:
- What goals do I have right now and why?
- How can I push that goal to be further outside my comfort zone?
- What do I enjoy doing most?
- When am I the happiest version of myself?
- What do I love doing in my free time?
- If I could have any job in the world, what would that be and why?
- What would I be willing to do absolutely anything for, to let nothing stand in my way, to work harder than anyone else at?
Passions can evolve and change over time, but the key is getting started. If you wait until you are "ready" to start or think you're ready, it will be too late. Once you set an ultimate goal, start practicing your craft in private so that one day soon, you can be rewarded publicly for all the time, effort, and sacrifice you put in.
For Katie, Lilly, and Michael, their stage is the swimming pool at the Olympics.
What will your stage be, and how will you get there?
What did you think of this post? What is your version of the Olympics, and how are you going to get there? Let us know in the comments!
Need some more inspiration to get started? Check out one of our favorite all-time scenes!