Growth 101: The BIG Life Lesson I learned when my Olympic Dreams were Crushed

“You won’t make the Olympics, Michelle.”

“What?! Why?! I just qualified for NCAA’s. I can do it. I’ll put in the hours, watch video, learn harder dives. You name it! I can do it.”

“Because you’re going to meet a guy, get married and start the rest of your life.”

In a matter of seconds, my childhood Olympic dream was crushed.

Let me briefly explain the magnitude…

From the moment I chipped my front tooth doing a somersault out of my crib, I knew gymnastics was my thing. Somersaults soon turned into back extension rolls then back handsprings into twisting layouts. It was incredible!

At age 10, my parents decided to take me out of gymnastics after my older sister almost broke her neck training. They put us in water sports instead. So my focus shifted to Springboard Diving…and the relentless pursuit of the Olympic Dream continued.

9 years, 150 competitions 3,600+ training hours later, “You won’t make the Olympics, Michelle.” happened. Can you see why my world came crashing down like Chicken Little? #eek

But my College Diving Coach was right. Two years later, I met a guy, got married and moved 875 miles south of Marquette, MI to Springfield, MO to start the rest of my life.

So what BIG life lesson did I learn? To finish strong even when your BIG dream gets crushed. Instead of getting angry or bitter, I respected his professional opinion. Instead of quitting, I continued to train hard under his leadership. I learned to trust the coaching process and have my expecations reset but still perform a peak levels. Instead of the Olympics, I finished my collegiate diving career with my head held high as a back to back GLIAC Champion and 6-Time NCAA Honorary All-American…and with the love of my life, ready to start the rest of my life.

Since that time, that “finish strong” mantra has never let me down…in my personal relationships OR in my professional career. In fact, it’s become a natural rhythm of life.

So when you’re passed over for a promotion, choose to “finish strong” and stay positive & responsible. When you’re not hitting your monthly sales targets, instead of feeling defeated, analyze your activity metrics, skill levels and product knowledge to see where your weaknesses are in order to turn things around. When you start getting “comfortable” in your current role, challenge yourself to get out of “auto-pilot” and find another way to improve the company or community. You’ll start living happier, perform at max potential and begin to teach others how to do the same.

What about you? Did you have a BIG dream crushed? How did you respond? Post a comment below. I’d love to hear your story and be encouraged!

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