“Gold medals are not made of gold. They’re made of sweat, determination, and a hard-to-find alloy called guts.” Dan Gable
“A lifetime of training for just 10 seconds.” Jesse Owens
Watching the winter Olympics for the past week has been amazing. Not just because of the physical feats of derring-do and the levels of endurance demanded, but because of all the stories that have emerged: Stories of persistence, of beating the odds, of tapping hidden inner resources, of going all out. Stories of the athletes who experienced major injuries and fought to bring themselves back to the highest level of competition. Stories of athletes who lived in basements and in trailers while they chased their dreams. Stories of athletes who practice relentlessly to make their dreams a reality.
We may not be training to become skiing or snowboarding champions, but as writers, there are so many qualities these amazing athletes bring to their game that we need to bring to the page! Chief among them are the:
Willingness to make changes: To pursue their goals, many of these athletes have changed coaches, changed partners, changed their training regimens, and even changed the sport they compete in. If something isn’t working, they fix it.
Ability to use failure as fuel: All the athletes competing have experienced failure and disappointment – often on very public stages. And yet, they’ve continued to practice, to strive, to improve, to compete. They’ve been humbled by their failures and ignited by them, but not defeated by them (see Finding Fuel).
Drive to improve and excel: All the athletes who’ve made it to the Olympics ae there because of the tremendous support they’ve received from families, friends, and above all, from their coaches. Yet all this support is really the fruit of an inner drive that keeps them going and growing. This inner compulsion and self-motivation is something no coach can create, but only ignite and feed. It’s an inner spark.
Strength to bounce back: If there’s one quality these gritty athletes share in common, it’s their resilience – their comeback chops. Many of them have been counted out by naysayers because of their injuries, their performances, their age. And yet, they’ve continued to believe in themselves: to practice, to innovate, to express themselves through their passionate involvement.
Courage to go all out: Over and over again, these athletes have exhibited a “damn the torpedoes” grit and put it all on the line. Instead of holding back, they go all out – and often this makes all the difference.
What an inspiration these athletes to us as authors as we all write on!