Sunday, August 23, 2009

Dedication to Success

Not sure if it should be 'Dedicated to Success' or 'Dedication to Success' but I do know this, you need it (some sort of dedication) to reach true success. There are obviously all types of success, and as I've written before, my definition of success could be far different than yours, but in short success has a basic meaning that we all understand.

I was finally able to watch some of the 2009 Track and Field World Championships before they ended today, and if you want to talk about the dedication to success, these athletes train day after day to get to and compete at a world class level. For most of them training is their career, and it's not over when the world championships are over or when the Olympics are over, they get right back to training.

I was in awe of the events I watched, even of the replays of events I missed, and the still shots wins and losses. The focus, desire, and pride of each of these individuals was so evident, in their posture, in their pre-event mental zone, when they won or didn't win. In the pole vault, the second after the men's gold medalist cleared the bar, he knew he won, and smiled the entire fall. When both the USA's mens and womens 4x400m relay teams not only placed first but created extreme distances from themselves and the second place teams, it was like watching an impossibility, but that's what they set out to do.

On the flip side, when the refs called a foul on the long jump, or when the USA's womens 4x100m relay team fumbled the baton and were disqualified, a look of disbelief instantly came over them, everything they'd been working toward now needed to be worked at again.

When I was a track & field athlete and a swimmer, the pressure to perform seemed far greater than any soccer game I ever played in. Most of the events I did were individual events, a team didn't directly rely on me, so once I was done with a throw, or once I touched the wall in swimming, the results were final and your reaction was real-time. There was no hiding your excitement (who would) but there was also no hiding any disaapointment you might have also experienced (there was tons of that at times.) There were some events you were expected to win, your team was counting on you.

I sometimes wonder what would have happened had one meet, in either sport, gone a little differently.

If I didn't hit my head and nearly knocked myself out in the water...

If I never sprained my ankle at the start of my last season...

Would my definition of success be different than what it is today? Perhaps. I don't know...I never will.

I have no idea where I'd be today if the ifs didn't happen, but I do know where I am today because of the ones that did happen. There's a different type of success in my life now than there was then, but success is still there, and it's still something I work toward every single day. There's not a moment in time, where I'd wish all the challenges would go away. It'd be too easy then, and there'd be nothing to work toward.

We experience success because of the tasks we've accepted. All the things I've done in life may not have resulted in a positive outcome, but the experience has taught me to apply what I've learned in the next scenario that arises.

Build upon what you know, and what you've learned and apply it toward your success.

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