If you have read the About Us section on the home page of the site, I briefly talked about my speedskating career and my dream to make it to the Olympics. I only touched on what that was like and basically said it was ok that I didn’t reach my goals. I lied. To be clear, all that is true but I lied about how that really affected me and how it still affects me today. It wasn’t ok that I didn’t reach my goal of becoming an Olympic gold medalist. It crushed me and still does to this day. There are always a lot of what ifs rolling around in my head. What if I hadn’t played basketball the day I blew out my knee? Would I have still ended up injured on another day? What if I hadn’t pushed too hard to come back from the first surgery and let myself heal for the year I should have taken off following an ACL reconstruction surgery? What if, what if, what if. I could go on.
I get pretty emotional around the Olympics, especially the winter Olympics. I cry when someone gets excited about winning his or her gold medal. I cry when someone is upset because they didn’t win. I feel their happiness and their pain. That was my dream as a child. I wanted to compete and win at the Olympic games. Not everyone can make it. Some of us get closer than others, but in the end it doesn’t really matter how close you were as there are those who make it and those who don’t. We all end up in the same group at the end of the day. I had people say that it was amazing that you still tried and not many people can say they actually went for it. I know those who say such things mean well and are trying to be positive but I guarantee those other athletes, like me, who did not make it don’t feel any better about saying we tried and failed. I still feel as if I failed, even to this day, 16 years following my retirement from the sport.
Any athlete who is working towards the goal of winning an Olympic gold medal thinks that it will happen for them one day. Of course, not everyone will win that gold medal but every athlete wakes up every day on his or her way to their first of multiple workouts for that day thinking I am doing this because it will make me win a gold medal. If we didn’t think that way then what are we doing there in the first place? I recently heard two Olympic athletes say they were embarrassed to say their goals to the world. One athlete, a speedskater, had the same goal as me. She wanted to win a gold medal and believed she would one day. She made the team and participated in the 2014 Olympic games in Sochi. She wasn’t any where near winning a medal but it was still amazing to be an Olympian. She did not make the team for this year’s Olympic games in S. Korea. She wrote a blog about how she still believed she was going to win that gold medal and was embarrassed to have that dream/goal because she was not that competitive in the world rankings and there was no indication she would win a gold medal but she still had that goal. Another Olympic athlete who has two gold medals to her name already was reminded that in an interview in Sochi she said she wanted to win 5 gold medals at a single Olympics so she could prove she was the best skier in the world. She was now embarrassed for making such a goal public.
Why are they embarrassed? Why are they embarrassed to have those goals and dreams? Why are others embarrassed to tell people of their goals and dreams? It’s not impossible for the speedskater to win a gold medal one day. It still could happen for her. It’s not impossible for the skier to win 5 gold medals in a single Olympics. She already has two so it is possible for her to reach #5. Why are we afraid to put it out there? Do we think if we actually say it out loud then the goal becomes real and then it creates the opportunity that we won’t reach it and fail? I know I am afraid of failing again. I didn’t think there was any way I was going to fail at reaching my goal. I was doing the work. I was over coming injury after injury. I was taking the necessary steps. I truly believed I would make it. I still failed. So now I have fear and doubt in the back of my head as I head down this other road in my life. Will I fail again? Why did I fail at making it to the Olympic games while others didn’t? Did I fail at that so I could be successful in my business?
So I will put my goals out there. I am going to say them out loud. I am going to make them real. I want to have a successful business. I am four years in and still don’t feel like it is successful yet. I want to weigh under 200 pounds and shop in a normal clothing store and not in the plus size section.
Now comes the hard part. How? It’s not about making a wish and hope it will happen. I have to make a plan and then stick with the plan.
What are your goals? What steps do you have to take to reach those goals?