3 Key Qualities of Every Olympic Athlete

[L]ike many of you, I have loved watching the Olympic athletes compete in London. My family and I have viewed more television in the past two weeks than the entire year. Staying up to midnight, watching the Olympics has completely messed up my sleeping schedule. (Not a good thing as I train for my first Half-Ironman.)

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Whether it’s beach volleyball, gymnastics, diving, track & field, badminton…you name the sport, what makes the Olympics so inspirational to me are three key qualities I see in every athlete. Who isn’t inspired by their intensity of focus, discipline, commitment and the sacrifices these athletes have made to get to London? We could name many, but here are three key qualities of every Olympic athlete that can make a big difference in your life as well. Read on…

1. Every Athlete Has A Dream

Just last night, as I watched Allyson Felix win the 200 meter sprint for the US, I was so inspired by her dream of winning gold. Why? Because for the past two Olympics, she has won silver twice! After coming in second in Sydney and Beijing, Felix could have easily said, “Forget it. I’m done. That’s the best I’ll ever do.”

But no. She got a new coach. She re-evaluated her time and commitments prior to the Beijing Olympics. She doubled-down and refocused her efforts on achieving her dream of winning gold.

When she was interviewed after winning her race, Allyson’s words of not giving up and pursuing her dreams reminded me of my dreams. It was like, “Duh…oh yeah…I have dreams. What am I doing to keep pursuing them?”

You have your dreams and I have mine. How might our dreams be realized with greater focus, discipline, and commitment?

God puts dreams in the heart of every person. They may be difficult. For some, practically impossible. But “With God, nothing is impossible.”

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2. Every Athlete Has a Story

If just watching the Olympic competition isn’t enough, NBC has done an incredible job of telling many of the athlete’s stories and struggles. As the stories are told what it took the athletes to just get to the Olympics, look at how many inspiring and heart-breaking stories unfold during the Olympics! We are seeing story creation in real time!

Misty and Carrie winning their third Olympic gold medal in beach volleyball. Stephen Feck, the German diver who did that incredible back flop (Now there’s a guy I can relate to!) Manteo Mitchell who broke his leg in the men’s 4×400 relay AND still finished the race!

Bike wipeouts in triathlon. Badminton scandals. Boxing scoring blunders. Gymnasts landing on their butt instead of their feet. There are so many amazing stories, you can’t keep up with them all!

Whether gold or dead last, every athlete has a story. But whether each athlete or team wins or loses, the one thing they have in common in that they have reached the pinnacle of athletic achievement with one name conferred on them: Olympian.

Though your life story may not be as dramatic, never minimize your story and the role you play as you walk with God. Together, your life story is being written. I love Hebrews 12, which reminds me that “Jesus is the author and perfecter of our faith.” We are to stay focused on Him. He is the author. Not you or I.

Our job is to get on the field. To find our life in Christ and live it out like we really meant it. To get active. So, act as an athlete in your heart, mind and spirit. Whatever you do, don’t be a spectator.

Your life story depends on it.

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3. Every Athlete Has a Coach

Correct me if I’m wrong on this, but every Olympic athlete has a coach. There is just no way any Olympian made it to London on their own wisdom, knowledge, and experience. In fact, over the course of their lives, most Olympians have had many coaches to guide their athletic development.

Not only do coaches bring the wisdom, experience, and knowledge of a particular sport, but more importantly, coaches bring what is often overlooked by the demands of training and competition: The need for relationship. Whether you are an athlete or not, we all need coaches. Someone who will not only teach us the skills necessary for whatever endeavor we’re pursuing, but someone who will support, guide and offer the necessary relationship to help us achieve our dreams.

I have had a lot of coaches over the course of my life. Coaches for volleyball, running, and other sports. Coaches and counselors for my marriage. Pastors and mentors for my walk with God and friendships. CPAs and financial advisors for my finances. Just this year, I hired a triathlon coach…all in all, I’ve had dozens of coaches.

Convinced of the value of coaching and mentoring, I’m just begun to offer creative coaching and mentoring services for people interested in cultivating their personal, professional and spiritual lives. It’s a perfect fit for anyone who wants to take their life to the next level…more on this in my next post.

And the key thing I’ve learned from my coaches is that I always have something new to learn. And that’s my goal…to be a life-long learner!

How many mistakes, failures, and heartaches could be avoided by the wisdom of pursuing the deep wisdom of someone who can be our coach?

A dream. A story. A coach.

These are three key qualities every person needs to have and to pursue.

To win in life, we need to pay attention to all three.

Ask any Olympian.

Questions: Are you pursuing your dreams? Where are you currently at in your life story? What coach or person has made a profound difference in your life?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive, snarky or off-topic.