August 8, 2008 at 3:53 pm, by Carl
Have you been watching the Olympics? I love to see these great athletes from around the world competing, showing their great skills and great heart. As a former professional swim coach, I have a tremendous love of the swimming competition and of course this year we saw a historic event with the swimming of Michael Phelps. If you listen closely during the presentations you can pick up some wonderful advice and encouragement for yourself.
Meanwhile, whether you looked at our sabre team in fencing, the women’s eights in rowing, or the powerful gymnastics men’s and women’s teams, you saw the work ethic of champions. While watching the individual events that included Shawn Johnson and Nastia Liukin, the announcers mentioned that when young Johnson first went into the Liang Chow’s gym, the famous Chinese Olympian asked her “how great do you want to be?”
That is a powerful question that anyone who wants success should ask—success as a student, as a parent, financial success, athletic success, at work, at play, ANYWHERE. “How great do you want to be?” Of course, what that means is “how much work, pain, effort, sweat and energy are you willing to put into it?” We can’t just say “I want to be great” and then sit back and wonder when the accolades are going to come.
Timothy Daggett, the announcer and former Olympic champion, earlier hit that point dead on. He and the other announcers were discussing the glory of standing on the stage with all eyes on them. Daggett then reminded everyone that this was just the tip of the iceberg, that this was the culmination of doing the same routine, the hard work of practice, 1000s of times with no one looking. That is the road to success. It’s not just how you do during the exam or during the big interview or at the important meeting, but rather how well you do in all the times BEFORE that moment. Are you focused on the road to success when no one is looking?
After it was all over for Phelps, he had a great interview with Costas that you can see on nbcolympics.com. In it he was interviewed with his mother. Costas asked if it was true that she was flying home in order to start her work as a school principal, to which she said it was. Costas then asked if she was going to be able to focus, or would she be too distracted with interviews and fans and such. Michael took over and said confidently that she would do her job and then went on to add a major statement.
He said that growing up, he learned about devotion and passion to the job well done from watching his mother. He said that his mother loved her job and that he and his sisters had seen how much hard work she puts into her passion of impacting and directing her students.
What a great testimony and a great challenge to each of us.
So, just how much passion do you have? Willing to put the work in no matter how few people ever see? Just how great do you want to be?