Every moment of your life can be a medal-worthy moment. If you embrace failure, stay resilient, and control the controllable.
Elana Meyers Taylor hammered this lesson home in her commencement speech two months ago at The George Washington University, artfully weaving her trilogy of failure, resilience and control into actionable advice for the newly minted graduates. Meyers Taylor, an athletic superstar during her GWU years, described how her failed attempt to make the 2008 Olympic softball team drove her to give bobsledding a try.
The end result? Five career Olympic medals. But for her softball fail, bobsledding never happens.
Once an established bobsledding star, she relentlessly (and successfully) fought to allow women to compete in the four-man bobsled event. Taunted and verbally abused on race days, she blocked out the noise by cranking Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” in her headphones.
The end result? She shook it off and became the first American woman to make the U.S. men’s national team.
She arrived in Beijing earlier this year and promptly tested positive for covid. She did not know if she would clear protocol before race time and make the starting gate. Isolated from her family and quarantined, she knew the one thing she could control was her fitness. Determinedly turning her hotel room into a makeshift gym, she wanted to be ready, just in case.
The end result? Silver and bronze medals at the 2022 Winter Games. The trilogy of failure, resilience and control, all leading to Olympic glory.
While you may not be an Olympian, you can create your own “medal-worthy moments” in life. In fact, Meyers Taylor urged the graduates, including one of my daughters, to do just that.
I am decidedly NOT an Olympian, but throughout the years I have failed. I have also blocked out the noise, shaking things off as they came at me. And I have controlled what I could control.
The end result? Medal-worthy moments serving others while trying my level best to live a purposeful and authentic life. Oh yeah – I also create medal-worthy moments with every one of my hikes, runs and rides. I would not have it any other way.
What medal-worthy moments will you create?
Carl Ficks helps busy professionals and their teams get back in the fitness game to reduce stress and increase productivity. He practiced law in New Britain for many years and is a proud member of the Generale Ameglio Society. He has run and cycled thousands of miles and competed in dozens of races, so when you're ready to get back in the game, email him at email@example.com.