One of the beautiful things about making a 8 and a half hour car ride back from NC is it gives you time to think – a lot of time to think – about your goals, the progress you’ve made, how close you are to finally reaching them, and what you need to do to actually grab them. It let me be honest with myself for once. For me, the goal that’s on the top of my list (and yes, I actually do have a list) is to make Regionals. And it’s been my goal for a long time now.
There’s a fine line between ‘wanting’ to reach your goals and making them happen. Everybody has goals or dreams they would give anything to accomplish, but most people are petrified to actually go after them – to commit 100% to making them happen. I know I fall into that group. It’s scary as hell to walk a tightrope without a safety net. And it’s even more terrifying to reach for your dreams, fail, and have no one left to blame but yourself.
I wasn’t tall enough, the coach hated me, I started too late. I’ve heard those excuses – those cop outs – my entire life. It eases the pain of failure and makes yourself look better in the eyes of your peers. But we’ve all heard stories of the athlete who beat the odds, who overcame the greatest adversity, why didn’t they crumble under the weight of their inadequacies? The majority of people seem to be perfectly content failing knowing they have an excuse in their back pocket, than to fully commit to something – to actually reach for their dreams, as opposed to just wishing for it to happen – and fail.
And maybe that’s the reason why I wasn’t too upset when I failed at my own personal goal and didn’t make regionals this past year. I know I didn’t commit fully, trained nearly as hard as I should’ve. So when I didn’t make the cut I just said to myself ‘oh we’ll I’m sure if I had committed fully I could’ve made it.’ Well why didn’t I commit fully, especially if it’s such a huge goal of mine? Because its easier to live with that reasoning (see: excuse), than it is to accept the fact I wasn’t good enough.
I loved the recent Olympic commercial which tried to give some insight into the mind of these uber-focused athletes. The line that stuck out the most by far was delivered by a female voice rhetorically asking “Take a day off?” “I haven’t even taken a morning off.” It’s that level of commitment, that level of focus I’m looking for out of myself. One of the benefits (privileges?) of working at such a huge skating rink with a premier figure skating program is that we regularly train Olympic athletes. Now don’t get me wrong, they bitch and complain just like everyone else. They roll up early in the morning like zombies, take a look at the WOD, laugh, and say fuck that. But here’s the difference, when it’s ‘go time’ all that changes.
We make jokes all the time that the figure skaters live at the rink or that they’re brainwashed, but more and more I’ve become envious of their lives and above everything else inspired by it. Their drive, their focus, their commitment to be better than they were the day before. Not reaching their goal is not an option. And I’ve come to realize that that’s attitude you have to adopt if you ever want to reach those lofty goals.
Why not go all in just this once? Forget the excuses and work my ass off. Do two a days, add in more skill work, focus on my weakness – whatever it takes. And if I fail and fall flat on my face, at least I’ll know I gave it everything I had.
So let me try and sift through the rambling mess that is this article and try to deliver that tidy all-inclusive bottom line. I’m not scared of failure anymore.