Monday, August 8, 2016
What Writers and Olympians Have in Common
by Kasey Tross
I don't know about you, but I LOVE the Olympics. I just get the biggest kick out of learning about the competitors and watching them do their thing, knowing they're the best of the best in the world. It is absolutely awe-inspiring to me.
Last night I was watching the swimming competition, and they were interviewing one of the swimmers after his race. They asked him something about how he prepared and he talked about things he did when he came to "training every day." It suddenly occurred to me that for these Olympians, their training is like going to work every day. Half the battle for them was just showing up- not once or twice a week, but every. single. day.
And that's how greatness is born.
It's not always about natural talent as much as it is about working really hard. I was really impressed by the story of U.S. swimmer Lilly King. When she was 8 years old she attended a swimming clinic with world-record-setter Janet Evans. King said, "I was the slowest one there." But she worked hard, and last night I watched her win a semifinal in the Olympics! The Olympics, people!
(Funny side story- King said she was so nervous as a kid to meet Janet Evans- just recently, King learned that Janet Evans' daughter Sydney, an aspiring swimmer, is a huge fan of Lilly King's and was nervous to meet her!)
So how are Olympians and writers alike?
If we want to succeed, and we want to be great, we have to show up and work hard. Every. Single. Day.
I am being a total hypocrite as I write this, because I don't write like I should every day. But the Olympics is just reminding me yet again that if I want to succeed, I have to put the work in. There are no shortcuts. Natural talent can only take you so far. The rest requires daily, consistent effort, even when it's hard.
Well, that's the work part of what writers and Olympians have in common- the other part is the fun part. It's the part where we're reaching for our dreams. I think that's the other reason I'm such a huge fan of the Olympics, because how often is it that you get to see someone realize their lifelong dream right in front of you? To watch them achieve the goal they've been working for as long as they can remember? It's a pretty amazing thing, I tell you, and it's an incredible feeling to not only watch it, but to be a part of a group of people who are constantly striving for it.
That's one of the things I love about the writing community. It's great to be around my friends and family and other moms, but there is a different feeling when I am with other writers (even if just online), because I know I'm with a group of people with some of the same dreams and ambitions that I have, and it's thrilling to see others progress and to be able to cheer one another on. Pursuing a dream is a very personal thing, and it's reassuring to know you're not the only one with big goals.
So as you're watching these incredible athletes over the next few weeks, just remember that you're made up of some of the same stuff. You understand goals and hard work, and while you might never go to the Olympics, if you keep working you will have some of your very own gold medal moments to celebrate- and we'll all be right here celebrating with you.