Let's play a game together:
1. Think of your favorite sport, or it can be a few sports.
2. Now, think of your favorite athlete or several favorite athletes.
3. What are the qualities of the sport/s and the athlete/s you admire?
Sometimes I wonder, why do we, humans, love sports so much? I love and admire many sports, from the obvious ones like tennis to American football, basketball, track and field, swimming, gymnastics, cycling, CrossFit, snowboarding, ski jumping, downhill skiing, biathlon, and many others. The key things that fascinate me about top athletes in all sports are the tremendous amount of dedication, commitment, focus, hard work, perseverance, grit, integrity, resilience, and effort invested in becoming exceptional at their craft. These athletes have mastered their art. The top athletes are so great at what they do that they make it look effortless. They make it look simple and easy. And most of them made it, despite the many challenges they had to go through in their lives. They represent the best of the best because of their resilience and keep-going attitude.
I am pasting a few of my favorite videos with amazing athletic performances to drive this point home.
1. Simone Biles, whose upbringing was far from perfect, was also one of the athletes abused by Larry Nassar, is probably the most celebrated gymnast in the world. She is as close to perfection in gymnastics as one can get.
2. How much courage must it take for Shane to shake off falls like these and get back up and not question oneself? You have about 5-10 seconds to recover and start over. How does one move on from these failures and get the courage to get back up and start all over again? This is a prime example of what we value about athletes - commitment, resilience, and trying again with a positive mindset.
3. Sha'Carri is such an inspiration. I cannot even believe she shows up and run like this after the challenges she has gone through - her biological mother passing away just recently. What a focus and ability to direct energy in the right way! Plus, who doesn't love her fun hair?
4. How about Kayla Han? A thirteen-year-old talent who outswam the women! What a grit and ability to push through to win!
5. Or let's have some fun with Marshawn Lynch's video on Youtube. Marshawn is such a beast, and who doesn't enjoy watching him eat skittles?!
6. Or a bit of a good old classic, because who doesn't love Michael Jordan? Great athletes perform well under pressure. They step up, and the pressure often elevates their game. They thrive when others get stressed and break down. The performers perform under pressure. They shine!
7. And it wouldn't be a post without a bit of tennis fun, which you can watch in this YouTube video.
How can we become more like our favorite athletes - not physically as that may not be possible for the vast majority of us, but perhaps we can practice and improve our mindset.
As Wayne says during our podcast, if you want to be great, you need to figure out how to win when things aren't going your way. That is what makes the difference between good and great tennis players, and in my opinion, this statement translates to all sports and other parts of life.
We are the result of what we spend our time on and what we think about. What you do daily creates habits, and habits can be hard to change.
What do you focus on?
Where do you spend time and invest your energy?
What skills do you practice daily?
What experience are you creating for yourself?
Are your daily thoughts and actions aligned with who you want to be?
As Jesse puts it, life is about the journey you create for yourself.
How are you enjoying the journey you are on?