Why I Never, Ever Quit
Oh my gosh, the Olympics are almost here!
I love the athletes, and their stories.
An Olympic athlete doesn’t get to the podium overnight. It takes discipline, hard work and practice. I believe we can draw a lot of parallels from their stories to how we look at and move forward in life -- whether it be related to career, business, personal achievement, relationships, fitness, spirituality......
When you watch these incredible athletes - they have an extreme amount of FOCUS in their eyes - and no matter what, they don’t give up. They don’t quit.
I love the story about Olympic Speed Skater J.R. Celski.
His story starts back in 2009, before the Vancouver Olympics. He was the new kid, and a strong contender, in the Olympic trials when he stumbled on the ice and ended up with a huge gash in his leg.
They had to stop the race, and he was carried out on a stretcher - they basically counted him out and said he would never skate again. He had this horrible incident and he wanted to give up.
But he didn’t quit. He trained, he worked hard, he rehab’d, and 5 months later, he went to Vancouver and won the bronze medal. On the podium, he proudly pointed to his formerly injured leg and showed everyone that he overcame his obstacles, and had this remarkable moment of glory.
After Vancouver, after this high point, he was exhausted - he just didn’t have it in him and he wanted to quit again.
So his athletic career took a backseat as he worked on a documentary about the Seattle music scene - in particular, the hip hop artist Macklemore - whose music he had a real connection with.
And in particular, the song called 10,000 hours.
There is a line in the song - "Same sh**, different day, same struggle".
Do you see how this would resonate with J.R.? With Olympic athletes? And why it SHOULD resonate with us? With anything that is worth it, we get a lot of no's, people doubting us, and setbacks. That's why people give up too early. It's hard.
If the good stuff was easy, everyone would be doing it. But it's not, and they're not. Hard word DOES pay off, just like an Olympic athlete.
Another line in the song goes like this - "The greats weren’t great because at birth they could paint -- The greats were great because they paint alot". (It's a rapper, so I know it doesn't really rhyme, but you get the gist!)
In order to be great at anything you do, you have to put in your time. Train everyday, 10,000 hours of preparation to be great at something. You sacrifice everything - to be the best at your profession or your craft - and for J.R. Celski - his goal was to achieve that potential that he had dreamed about his whole life.
He decided to re-enter the Olympic race - and he and his American teammates won a silver medal in the 5000 meter relay in Sochi. WOW, what an inspiration!
Another story I’d like to share is that of Mikaela Shiffrin, an 18-yr-old Olympic skier.
She participated in a press-conference before a large gathering of reporters, the day after she arrived in Sochi. Some thought the teenager would melt under Olympic pressure, but they were amazed by her mature, calm demeanor, and by her revelation that she had done all sorts of visualization about the Olympics, including writing down potential press-conference questions, and answers.
She's also visualized herself in the Olympic slalom start hut — as the favorite. And on the podium. “I’ve been here before in my head, for sure”, she said “to everybody, this is my first Olympics, but to me, it’s my thousandth."
In her big event, she was in the lead of the women’s Olympic slalom competition and the gold medal was hers to lose. Roaring down the racecourse, she could not get the gold medal out of her mind. She was on the verge of crashing, one ski airborne, her arms flailing.
Her coach was sure the race was lost. Later, she said - “I’ve made that recovery in practice a hundred times, if not more. So I said to myself, ‘You know what to do — charge back into the course.’ ”
About 25 rapid and nearly flawless turns later, She sped past the finish line to become the youngest Olympic slalom champion. She is the first American to win the event in 42 years.
“It is still about the process of a ski race,” she said, standing near the slalom finish. “No matter what else was happening, I kept thinking that I had to keep my skis moving down the hill. Keep going, don’t quit, don’t stop. Then see what happens.”
So friends - I want to challenge and encourage ALL of you - keep going, don’t quit, don’t stop - then see what happens.