If you’re like me then you’re likely finding yourself glued to the television during the Winter Olympics, strangely I’m even more consumed during these games than the Summer ones, although barely…  Perhaps it’s a combination of the inclement weather outside that makes me want to bundle up and sit on my couch, along with the fact that Canada traditionally does very well in winter sports.

It’s been a long cold winter (I think this is the Aussie in me coming out…okay, the whiny Aussie) so far with still a long way to go. 🙁

With all my years in Canada I thought that I would become acclimatized and actually come to enjoy winter and all it has to offer, yet here I am all these years on and my patience and enthusiasm for winter has long since evaporated!  Over the years I’ve become far less tolerant when it comes to winter’s icy grip, so any respite I can glean…even becoming a couch potato for two weeks will do.  🙂

I found myself watching Curling earlier this evening and even looking up the rules on Wikipedia. Truth be told it’s the same when the soccer World Cup is on as well…so this will happen all over again later this summer.

What I love most about these premier events is watching the very best athletes in the world compete against one another, especially since they’re at the top of their game and dedicated a huge part of their lives to accomplish what few ever have the opportunity to do – live their Olympic dream.

It really is astonishing when you get to see a high performance athlete up close and observe their dedication to the sport they love. Arguably no one works harder either physically or mentally to prepare for sports at this elevated level.

Can you imagine living your life with such a fierce passion to succeed?  What about the courage it takes to put themselves out there event after event, year after year, competing at the elite level in preparation for potential Olympic selection?  In inevitable injuries, the heartbreaking losses, the constant training?

For most of us that will never experience this we have no idea of the journey’s these athletes have made, their sacrifices and most importantly the missed moments with loved ones.  For many athletes, particularly in individual sports its a lonely existence when you eat, sleep and breath your sport…for years on end which can definitely take its toll.

Fortunately for the likes of you and me we have other ways of showing our expertise, perhaps not in the sporting arena but in other areas of our life where we excel, whether it being a great parent, husband, wife, coach, mentor, or specialist in your job or field – we all have something that we can shine at and positively contribute to society.

In my mind it still distills down into the same three things that elite athletes use when honing their bodies and minds for competition – focus, perseverance and self belief.

There is no magic to it, now granted they have incredible athletic gifts that allow them to excel in their specific sport, but you don’t win gold medals or compete at this level without these three important ingredients, and then combine that with a ton of hard work.

I believe that you can make almost anything happen if you stay focused on your goals, persevere when things are difficult and/or not going your way, but most of all you have to believe in yourself…no matter what!

It’s about not giving up, especially on your dreams.  There is no question that it takes courage to keep working and pushing even when everything looks bad or with little end in sight but its times like this that often we don’t realize that we’re so close to reaching our goals that if you knew you’d be celebrating…unfortunately the vast majority of people give up before they reach their goals.

Giving up does two things – (1) it saps your positive energy and momentum and (2) erodes your self confidence.  As I watch the Olympic athletes compete this week I’m struck by their commitment and passion for what they do.   Now, as you know not every story ends with a gold medal, in fact the vast majority of athletes don’t medal, however each and every one of them give it their absolute all…you can see it in their faces, with their sweat and sometimes tears of heartbreak or joy.

For many, it’s the culmination of a lifetime of sacrifice and hard work to follow their dream of competing in the Olympics…a mantle few of us will ever experience.

However, there are many parallels between the elite athletes and the way they approach and live their lives and the way that we can approach ours…

In my mind, to passionately to follow your dreams and to give it your absolute all everyday is called “living a life”.  Not sure about you, but given that we only get one chance at this why not fully commit, just as our Olympic athletes have done and go for it.

Remember, you can live your dream just like them but perhaps without as much sweat!  🙂

Nothing is sweeter than that feeling of total contentment, knowing that you’ve given your all in the pursuit of your dreams…