With the Olympic Games having come to a close, I’ve drawn so much inspiration from this global sporting event over the past two weeks.
The idea that you can keep trying at something and no matter how many times you fail, if you have the courage (and stamina) to get back up, you just might succeed.
I’m referring most specifically to the women’s pole vault results at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
“I feel like this competition was kind of a good representation of my year so far,” Nageotte said, who had to overcome a COVID infection, all nine of her poles breaking and food poisoning in the weeks and months leading up to the Tokyo Games.
“And then there was just this upward trajectory,” Nageotte said.
She’s just one example of the awe-inspiring resilience that these global athletes are putting on display every single day.
Then there’s the story of Australian canoeing legend Jess Fox, who won her first Olympic gold medal in the women’s C1 slalom after fixing her broken kayak with a condom and vomiting right before her race.
Instead of letting these incidents deter her or being overcome with fear that she wasn’t feeling well, she opted instead to mentally tell herself, “OK, my body’s ready, that’s just my body telling me to get ready for something big,” … and then, she went on to win the gold medal.
I mean, if that’s not a powerful example of “reframing your thinking” to make amazing things happen, I don’t know what is! Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying for one second that any feat (let alone an Olympic medal-worthy one) is as simple as “positive thinking”! However, performing at the highest level of your endeavors (whatever they may be), is undoubtedly a mental game.
If we look beyond the final scores of the global superstars at this year’s Olympics, there is so much we can learn.
For me, the first and foremost lesson is that training your mind, especially when you feel like the odds are against you (and let’s be honest, who hasn’t felt like that during one time or another during this pandemic?) can be a hugely powerful thing.
But that alone does not bring success. Oprah says, “Luck = preparation + opportunity” and I’m a true believer in that!
Olympic champion Jess Fox had been striving for this gold medal moment since her first Games back in 2012 and dreaming of it for probably a lot longer. For all the athletes competing at the Olympics, there’s a lot of training, sacrifice, hard-work and commitment (not to mention, blood, sweat and tears) that takes places over several years — sometimes decades — that brings them within close reach of their dreams.
And yet, only a select few will succeed in winning a medal.
Many will have to walk away, re-evaluate their goals and decide whether to keep going and pin their hopes and dreams on the next Olympic Games, or if they should simply give up.
How many of us apply that Olympic medal-winning mindset to our daily lives? Or our work lives?
How often have you picked yourself up after a professional or personal setback, brushed off your fears and picked up that (figuratively speaking) pole vault to leap over that seemingly sky-high hurdle?
I love stories of great resilience, and they don’t always have to be Olympic-size achievements.
It can be something as simple as having the will to get out of bed, take a shower and face another day with optimism after prolonged periods of unemployment (which so many of us have experienced during the pandemic).
Or perhaps, having the wisdom to stop, re-evaluate your life / goals / priorities and redirect yourself into other pursuits. Success comes in different ways, shapes and forms, and like Jess Fox says, it’s all about “reframing” your thinking “and putting it into a positive.”
So, what’s your story? Feel free to share it below.