This past summer we watched some of the very best athletes in the world compete at the London Olympics. Whether it was swimmers Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte or Missy Franklin; gymnasts Gabby Douglas, Alexandra Raisman or Mckayla Maroney; or track’s Usain Bolt, Ashton Eaton or Lolo Jones; all demonstrated the results that unequivocal dedication, commitment, sacrifice and heart can bring. Whether gold medalists or not, they performed at a level that most only dream of.
However, as spectators, you don’t get to see the actual “ingredients” that go into such feats. I mean you see the end product; the playing of national anthems as Olympic champions receive their medals; the hype and press that accompanies the success of such feats, along with the endorsement packages that seem to follow. But what about the intangibles…the things that these athletes need to have foundationally to put in the kind of efforts that they must to even come close to the “big” stage of the Olympics?
The same could be asked about professional athletes like Derek Jeter, Drew Brees or Derek Rose. They too have performed (and will perform) outstanding athletic feats for fans of all ages. You can throw in college teams (and athletes) as well; Duke Basketball, Michigan Football and Stanford Volleyball are but a few programs that build success off of the hard work and dedication of many athletes.
So again, what about the intangibles—the aspects no one sees? Well…there is not enough space here to discuss them all as the list would be quite long. Much more appropriate for a book in length, their numbers and descriptions are too considerable for a blog post—even a long one.
Yet…there are three significant aspects I would like to take a moment to highlight here as they can make a huge difference in what happens to one athletically (and beyond). Pieces of the puzzle that athletes like the ones mentioned earlier have learned to use to their advantage all too well.
You see…top athletes, the ones working toward becoming the best they can be, or those trying to maintain that status of being the best, they take personal Responsibility for the successes they want to achieve. They know it is up to them and no one else as they take individual Ownership over the efforts they themselves must put in, in order to continue moving up the path toward greatness—championship. And when things don’t work out the way they might have planned…well, they hold themselves Accountable for any failures or mistakes. They learn from these mishaps rather than allowing them to define who they are and what they become.
In fact, this holding themselves accountable actually bolsters their resolve as it’s used to measure where they are athletically (their skill) at any given moment in time. It shows them what is next to be learned, where they must improve, and/or what obstacle still lies before them. And, like lighter fluid on a fire, it creates a burning inside, igniting a passion that resonates deep within the heart.
Make no mistake, athletes at the top, or ones working toward that end result, they use “ROA” as a foundational means to get there. So take a lesson from the “very best” and look nowhere else but in the mirror to find the person in charge. If you learn to take the underlying principle behind ROA to heart, you might find your own personal athletic potential is something that actually is within your grasp.
"Greatness, whether athletic or otherwise, doesn’t come from those content on just being but from those who seek being the difference."