Friday, April 4, 2008

Follow Your Dream

It's probably no surprise that as a career coach, I love hearing about people who have chosen to pursue their dreams. But I really enjoy reading about someone who has given up the traditional path to pursue an athletic dream.

From the article last month (3/6/08) in the NY Times, Great Set of Wheels for Olympic Hopeful:
He is 6 feet 4 inches and runs remarkably fast despite being 210 pounds, roughly 40 more than many of the competitors he hopes to join at the Beijing Olympics this summer.

His dream sprang out of nowhere, prompting Robinson to quit a $100,000-a-year sales job so he could train. He left behind a comfortable, normal life for a job in a tire store, driven only by a nagging sense that this is what he is supposed to do.

“I believe I’m going to end up in the Olympics,” Robinson, 25, said. “I don’t know how I’m going to get there. But I guess if the mountain were smooth, you wouldn’t be able to climb it.”

“How come when we’re kids we want to be astronauts and firefighters and Indian chiefs, and then when we turn 20 years old we give up on our dreams?” Young said. “Dallas is a good example of a guy who’s still trying to be an astronaut.”

As a former high-level rugby player, I know how difficult it can be when you're training your butt off, sacrificing a lot in other areas of life, and not really sure if all the work will really get you there.

The same can be said for anyone who makes the difficult decision to take the "road less traveled," athletic or not. Entrepreneurs sacrifice a lot for their budding businesses, students who want to get into a top school will spend weekends studying, aspiring artists will live frugally for years in hopes of making it big.

What I've noticed about people who make the gutsy choice to pursue their dreams usually report the same thing - that "nagging sense that this is something they're supposed to do."
At the outset, there's often an "alternating current" of doubt and drive in the background, but those who have the greatest success are those who let their dream carry them and never look back.

And even if you don't ultimately succeed, you will have tried and that alone is worth so much. Here is one of my favorite quotes along those lines, and it happens to be sports-related as well (you can also find it in my previous post "Leadership Develops Daily"):
“It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by the dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.” - by Theodore Roosevelt

  • What's your dream?

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