Olympic Life Lessons: Go For Your Personal Gold

March 2, 2010 Do you miss the Olympics already?

I know I do, as it’s one of the rare times I tune in to the tube regularly to witness the spectacle, the quests, the rivalries and glitches that define drama in life’s own reality TV show…I mean, really. You can’t get more ‘central casting’ than this…

…Wholesome looking athletes, intriguing back-story baggage, triumphant wins and tragic loss, all challenging themselves and each other to unleash the human spirit in an ambitious drive to reach a pinnacle of greatness. (And yes, that’s my silly family, at the Olympic Training Facility in Co. Springs ‘on the podium’)

While Winter Olympics headlines wrap the obvious, “party’s over” stance, and Time Magazine sanctions their version of the Top 10 Memorable Moments, Top 10 Figure Skating Rivalries, and 100 Olympic Athletes To Watch endorsement deal deliberations emerge, I have to ask myself, why do we have to portray this as an ‘end’ instead of a ‘beginning’ to take the lessons learned into our own lives?

Can’t we take the Olympic ‘soundtrack’ into our own screenplay of life and set forth on quests of our own whether it’s social change, startup ideas, academics, or athletics?

Sure, some will say the Olympics should be about the athletes, period. Not the emotions, of surprise, glory and tragedy gripping the spectactors in social media channels…nor the technical and ceremonial hoopla that earned the ‘glitch games’ snipes, but to me, all of these are ‘life lessons’ that linger long after the games are gone.

My own brother serendipitously sent me this ‘guest editorial’ from his hub in the Colorado Springs Olympic training ground environs, waxing poetic to my own daughter (a volleyball power player) about why she should consider each game her own ‘personal Olympics.’

I liked it…(and tweaked it) to share with all as a firm reminder that the Olympics may be finished for now, but the quests within us all, continue.

Game over? I think not. Rock on…

Going for the Gold in your OWN Personal Olympics

Guest Post By Mark J. (My older bro/athlete extraordinaire)

“I’m laying in my bed – in the dead of winter… watching other people – other young physically fit – as in top flight condition – people; work their butts off competing in this global extravaganza called the Winter Olympics.

People are outside in the cold rain, sleet and snow flying down mountains, jumping off mountains, falling hard and failing, rising high and winning and I’m just happy to observe it all. It’s all there packaged in living color – from the “Thrills of Victory to the Agony of Defeat”- I’m tuned in to see others doing their thing…

Haven’t we all done those bobsled blasts down our own rugged runs as kids? Whether on cardboard toboggans sliding downhill on summer grass, or a faithful fearless flyer sledding down winter hills, we’ve all felt a rush of excitement in the great outdoors and, come on admit it now, dreamed of winning the Gold Medal in…. something!  Anything!

If you don’t remember, then you’re just not admitting to being human or you’ve forgotten how you dreamed of who you might someday be…

But is this any way to live one’s life, getting our vicarious thrills? I think the REAL spirit of the Olympics exists to light a flame inside each of us to be the best ME that each of us can be. Think about it. There’s only one gold medal in each event. How many thousands and millions of people have dreamt of claiming that victory?

Now how many are willing to dedicate their lives to that goal, especially when the odds of winning it are so slim and the margins of victory are so thin? We can talk about training, discipline and luck, but the fact is there are great inspirations in any race and any great gathering of humanity.

The Olympics lives year round in the hearts and minds of all people everywhere that strive to achieve their dreams…

I’ve always been more of a participant than an audience member; more the athlete than the cheerleader. So I find watching the world of sports and Olympics just makes me want to get up and dance, perchance, to enjoy the energy. Okay sometimes it’s not all fun. Sometimes it’s blood, sweat and tears.

Maybe I just can’t stand to see others doing their thing and doing their thing so well… Maybe it just inspires me to want to get up and do MY Thing… And then I realize just how fortunate I am to even know what my thing is— And isn’t that really the same race you’re in too?

Call it the Human Race, at whatever pace – it’s the great race of Life – to be alive and to strive…Isn’t THAT the name of the game?

I view it as sort of a People’s Olympics, where we’re all participating in the running of the torch…we don’t have to wait for the next four years. Try this: I guarantee you will be changed and transformed.

When you get out of bed – rise up with a powerful purpose and live that day like it was your chance for a gold medal. Your day is your ski run – sometimes you might flail and fall. Other times you might just cruise in the groove and at the end of the day, feel like you’re ready for the podium.

It doesn’t matter if you’re feeling Tin, Bronze, Silver, Gold or Old. The main thing is that you FEEL – you feel yourself living alive – aching and earning and yearning and learning each and every day; moving towards some worthwhile goal.

That DREAM that you keep alive? It also keeps YOU alive!

Powerful Purpose is what gives joyful juice to the daily sculpting of our lives. And it’s okay to not be the very best.  It’s really not necessary to come in first or second or third or even fourth or fifth. What’s important is that you TRY. You reach. You learn and grow while you give it your best shot. What’s important in life is not always the destination but the journey.

You don’t have to be the very best at what you do, or at anything for that matter. You don’t need Olympic size hurdles and obstacles and drama and coverage – or to win incredible endorsement deals and rewards galore.

Maybe we all just need to learn to be very grateful that the road to Happiness and Heaven does not require the accumulation of gold medals, blue ribbons and lots and lots of money.

If you strive to be your “best you,” fulfillment comes in ways that are ‘gold’…So take a spark from these wonderful Olympic games.

Grab yourself a torch and light your dreams on fire, from the Inside. Go out and go for the gold in a different way that we usually work for the daily gold…And be appreciative regardless of the results …

If you gave it your best – let it rest. Let life lift you into a realm of creative competition – with yourself!” —Mark J.

Guest author Mark J. is a silver-tongued smoothie, former forest ranger and eco-savant that can “charm the husk right off of the corn” and delight kids at every age and stage.

We call him ‘Magic Mark’ for his ‘golden horseshoe he appears to have firmly implanted in his backside somewhere, as he lopes through life like a big ol’ six foot four llama, smiling and spewing aphorisms with warmth, charisma and amusing personal style.

Thanks for the guest post, bro! The other two color coordinated characters are my nearest and dearest too…yep, my own parents; guess it’s ‘family day’ on Shaping Youth. They’re all gold.

Related Posts on Shaping Youth

Olympic Media to Inspire All Ages: Lia Neal to Dara Torres

Using New Media w/Decorum: Beijing Olympics 8-8-08

Girls Sports Boosts Preteen Body Image & Self-Worth

Positive Coaching Alliance Offers Media Tips & Life Lessons

Women Talk Sports Network: Voices to be Heard

Danica Patrick: A Racy Kids’ Role Model to Champion?

GLTR Girls: Girls Learn to Ride Creates Oceans of Self Esteem

Gender/Race/ Sexism: Shaping Youth Through Pop Culture Cues

Young Runners: A Media Must for Track Season

+3 Network: Social Media Sponsorship Tool for Races!

Media Tips from Dads & Daughters About Sports Engagement

Related Resources Elsewhere

Women Talk Sports.com (Blog Netwk + GREAT 2010 Olympics coverage)

Sports Marketing & Advertising, Media Literacy Lessons, Frank Baker.com

MEF/Playing Unfair: The Media Image of the Female Athlete

Media Education Foundation Videos

Women’s Sports Foundation.org

GoGirlWorld.org (national divisions and world site)

Youth Sports: Lessons Play With Your Mind & Soul (Suzette Valle)

Responsible Sports.com (via MamarazziKnowsBest)



  1. Awesome article! A lot of young people could take a lot out of it, the better their lives.
    .-= Small Business Coaching´s last blog ..Welcome to The Million Dollar Mindset Blog =-.

  2. I totally agree. That is precisely how I view it. Great!

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