Sometimes people try and stop you when you truly believe in yourself
People measure success in a lot of different ways. Some people measure success purely financially, if you make a lot of money or have a lot of “things” they consider you successful. Others try and say that success is based on the number of friends you have around you. Some think that success is based on winning at all cost and still others think that to be successful you have to have achieved a level of “fame” that is to say that you are a modern day hero. I am not saying that any of these is wrong or bad, but I find it difficult to understand that these same people are the ones who are quick to tell you that you can’t do it…that you will never succeed. These people just don’t want you to believe in yourself.
When I started my Olympic campaign I was only 15 years old, the Olympic equipment had not been decided yet and there were a ton of older, successful sailors talking about throwing their hat in the ring for the Olympic Multihull class here in the USA.I didn’t know much about multihull sailing, I didn’t have a lot of catamaran racing experience, I didn’t have a partner, and I was way younger than the average athlete who sails in the Olympic Games. With all this, I wanted to try and see how I could do. Win or lose, I was willing to give it my all because I knew I just needed to believe in yourself.
When I announced to everyone that I was going to do this I was told every reason why I shouldn’t try, they were telling me that “you shouldn’t trust in yourself”. I was told that I wasn’t old enough, that I didn’t have enough experience or money or education or time or support. I was told that it would effect my education, that it would hurt my relationships, that it would take away all my free time and would interfere with my friendships. I was told the boat would be too powerful, that it was too dangerous, that I would hurt myself or break my boat. I was told I wouldn’t be able to make friends, or meet girls or enjoy any of my teenage life. I was told by friends and some family, by teachers and even a coach that It wasn’t possible, that I should just give up and simply not believe in myself. Something to think about.
Most of those things were said to “protect” me or to help me from being disappointed or discouraged when things got stressful or tough, but in reality those people were telling me their own fears of success and were talking about thoughts in their own head that prevent them from taking a chance, from doing something different, from going out on a limb and trying to be the best they can be. They are used to hearing in their own heads that they don’t believe in yourself.
Today I am less than a year from the USA Olympic Sailing Trials, and I have to admit that the road to Rio has been much more stressful than I could imagine. It has cost much more money than I anticipated and I have had to sacrifice time with friends and opportunities with girls and missed doing a lot of fun and cool things through highschool. I have unfortunately taken some of the “advice” I was given and have been telling myself those things that basically make it harder for someone to believe in yourself. All this but I am still pushing through to achieve my goal, to sail in the US Olympic Trials and do the best I can do and attempt to represent the USA in the Rio Games next summer so I can come home with a Gold Medal.
The messages telling me not to believe in yourself are still playing in my head, but I have learned to ignore them more and more and have replaced them with things like “you can do it” and “you are good enough” and “you deserve it” and “It makes you happy”.
Today I know that I am doing everything I can to win Olympic Gold, I am training, and practicing and working out and meeting with sponsors and asking everyone for support and even more than you can imagine to make my dreams come true. I do understand that success isn’t about winning a Gold Medal though. Success isn’t about standing on the podium and having people in the arena or on TV back home cheering for me. Sure that will feel great, but it is not my definition of success…It is my goal, the objective of my campaign, but it is not what success is.
You see, I am already a success. I have spent my entire highschool life training, staying focused and keeping my goals in front of me, driving me to be the best I can be…That is success. Success is when you truly believe in yourself. Success is knowing that you put 100% of your effort into something, that you didn’t give up when it got tough, that you were willing to go back and work harder when it wasn’t working and that you continued to get up every time you were knocked down physically, mentally, emotionally and even financially; you keep getting up and keep trying until you succeed no matter what.
When we listen to our heart, when we believe that God gave us the desire, the knowledge and the resources we need to do what he wants us to overcome and to become, then you are a success. When you don’t give up when things get tough or when you get scared or when people tell you to just give up or to go in another direction you are living as a true success.
People will never stop telling us that we shouldn’t believe in yourself. They will always give us their opinions on why we should quit or move on or do something else, or find an easier way, It is human nature to avoid difficulties and people will always try to discourage others from pushing through when times get rough. Simple truth is that when you succeed it reminds others how they gave up when it got tough and that they failed to do exactly what you are doing to be a success.
I am going to the Olympic Trials and I am going to do my best. I hope that drives me to Rio and to the podium in 2016, but no matter what happens, I know that I am successful because I keep trying, I don’t give up and I work harder and longer and more intently than anyone. I know that I am not the result I get in competition, I am a success because I put the effort in each and every day to do the best and to be the best I can be. I am a success because I have met some amazing friends and have developed relationships that will last my entire lifetime and those things won’t change win or lose.
I intend to win in Rio, but I am not my victory nor am I my failures. I am a success and I will continue to be a success because I will put everything I have into what I am doing each and every day of my life. I won’t let fear keep me from anything because I know that above all you have ot believe in yourself!