All eight athletes are lined up in their respective starting blocks to run the race of their life. Their hands are at the line. Their feet are planted, staggered in the blocks. The announcer says, “set” and they lift their hips into the air. The stadium of 20,000 people is so quiet you can hear the cry of one bird off in the distance.
My heart beats faster in my chest, my breathing has become shallow, I have butterflies in my stomach. I am actually nervous for them.
The gun is fired and they take off the line so quick it is almost a blur.
The entire crowd erupts in cheering, clapping, and yelling as each individual pushes themselves to the limit to make it across the finish line as fast as possible.
I have just returned from the US Track and Field Olympic Trials in Eugene, OR.
There is no way to adequately describe the energy I felt sitting in the stands watching athletes at this level compete for a spot on the US Olympic team heading to London, England for the summer games in late July.
So many of them have had the dream of not only being a world-class athlete, but of competing in the Olympic games to represent their country.
They have trained day in and day out, rain or shine, heat or cold, with injuries, with setbacks, with defeats. The difference between earning a spot to go to London often came down to mere hundredths of a second, or ¼ of an inch. It was mind-boggling to say the least.
I can’t even begin to fathom the work, dedication, drive, and commitment it takes to being one of the best in the world at what you do.
Or can I?
Are we really all that different than the best athletes in the world?
Do we not get up each day, doing our best to work towards various goals?
The barista down the street tries to make the best coffee in town so they can have a thriving business with happy customers. An individual with an injury spends time and energy in physical therapy to rehabilitate and return to their previous function. A gardener takes time watering, dead-heading, and fertilizing their plants and flowers so they can thrive and bring both them and others beauty and joy.
We all do this day in and day out. We have tough days and wonder if all the effort we put forth will be worth it. Will my business thrive, will my injury heal, will my garden grow?
We don’t always know if our dreams will be realized, no matter how much effort we put in. But we keep trying.
We really are no different than world-class athletes in that respect. We get up each day. We do our best at work. Try to be good parents. Learn how to paint. Take on a new role in a community club.
We continuously learn, grow, get knocked down, get up, and do it again.
They have their goals. We have ours.
And they are all important.
Thank you for spending some of your time with me today. I really do appreciate it and hope you found it helpful.
As always, take from here what works for you, share with your friends if you think they might benefit, and the rest you can leave behind.
P.S. What lifetime goals are you pursuing, if any? I'd love to know. Leave a comment below, or email me, firstname.lastname@example.org