I love the Olympics. Having had the 2020 Olympics just wrap up here in 2021, we can all agree it was a different year with the Olympics, but the thing that was steady and consistent was the inspiration and motivation watching these incredible athletes come together around the world to compete on this world stage.
I cry at the commercials, I cry at the stories, I cry watching people win and lose and have their personal bests, it’s just such a wonderful thing. I also love watching my kids watch the olympics and they come alive in their own sports. I believe that those olympics inspire people all around the world to really bring their best.
To watch athletes compete for their country for the first time, or win medals for their countries for the first time, watching Andre De Grasse win the gold medal in the 200 meter after winning his bronze medal in the 100 meter, it’s just so phenomenal to watch these athletes bring their best.
This year in particular, in the absence of their families and friends being in the stadium watching, having fans to cheer them on, it really took an extraordinary mental capacity to attend and compete at the Olympics this year, which makes it even more inspiring. I hope you were inspired as much as I was.
Today, I wanted to focus on one story in particular. Penny Oleksiak, who is a Canadian Olympic swimmer, won seven medals over the last two Olympics. So she’s 21 years old, and is now one of Canada’s most decorated Olympian. She sent out a particular tweet:
I think what penny is saying here is so important for each of us. Coaches, teachers, mentors, and parents have all played an important role in these Olympian stories. We’ve heard that over and over again as they’re with their coaches, recognizing the hard work and training that’s gone on, and the support that’s needed to really help them perform at their best.
Reflect on our own life on how important it is to have the cheerleaders, support systems, coaches, and people that are helping to pull the best out of you so you can accomplish your personal best.
But just like you and I, these Olympians also have had naysayers along the way. People who may have said things like “Your dream’s too big. That’s going to be tough. Maybe you should focus on your academics instead.” Basically saying, quit on your dream and do something else. I’m sure you can think of a time, where you had people saying things like “Maybe you should choose a different direction. Maybe you’re not ready for that.” These are well-intentioned people, but if we’re not careful, those words and other people’s opinions can really devastate dreams.
Penny was very young, she was in high school when this was said to her. She could have very easily heeded that advice and quit on her dreams. But she didn’t! And I hope that you don’t either.
A question that came to me from one of you was “Should we have a backup to our dream or our vision?” And I love this question because how many times have we heard “What’s your backup plan? What’s plan B?” And we’ve really been conditioned that we should have plan A and plan B, and maybe C and D and E.
I wanted to share what my perspective on having a backup plan is. My short answer is no, I don’t believe we should have a backup plan to our vision.
We have multi-faceted dreams and visions where they may include multiple passions, intentions, and parts of our life. But if your dream or vision really lights you up, I believe that’s where our focus and energy should be, is in pursuing that dream. While we’re holding and pursuing that dream, we’re being flexible. We’re realizing that some things are going to work out some things aren’t going to work out. We’re going to have to pivot and change and sometimes even shift directions, but we’re trusting in the process of the pursuit of the dream, and knowing that there’ll always be other opportunities. If this doesn’t work out, if this fails, there’ll be a new dream, a new idea.
But bringing your full focus and energy to the pursuit of your dream is what creates excellence. We live this long life, we can have multiple dreams that we’re pursuing.
What happens is if we’ve got plan A and plan B and plan C, if you can imagine you’re really spreading that energy out. In physics there’s a really great principle that the system with the least diversity conducts the most electricity, or conducts the most power. If you can imagine having a straight line with directly connected energy, that has a lot more power than if you’ve got multiple branches, and that’s what happens to us. When we’ve got plan A, B, or C, our energy is divided, and we’re not bringing our full power, or our full focus to our dream.
So should you have a backup plan? My recommendation would be to really bring your full energy and full attention to your vision. Hold it with an open hand, knowing that you’re doing everything you can to pursue it, and knowing that doors will continue to open for you if things don’t go as you had planned or intended. But in the meantime, you’re giving it your all.
There’s a certain mindset and strategy required to bring your vision into your reality, so the mindset here is to ask what would an Olympic mindset look like as you’re pursuing your vision? What would that look like to really embody that Olympian mindset towards your vision, your dream? The strategy is really pouring all of your energy, all of your attention in the pursuit of that dream, full focus.
So what would that look like for you? Again, I hope that you were inspired by these athletes they poured their hearts, their minds, their soul, they really I believe left everything in Tokyo this year and I believe that they should be applauded for their efforts, especially in this year.
So bring that Olympian mindset into your dream this week!
Here is to you living a life you love,