Tony Rossi posted an article earlier this week about Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson’s perspective on winning the silver medal:
After the balance beam, however, Shawn saw from the scoreboard that it was mathematically impossible for her to beat Nastia. A little dispirited because there had been such an emphasis on her winning gold, Shawn briefly questioned whether she should just give up. She quickly realized that failure – and that’s exactly what giving up would be: failure – was not an option.
Recalling the moment, Shawn writes, “I was still determined to give this performance my entire heart and soul, but my motivation had changed. In some strange way, once I knew the gold was out of reach, I was free to go out there and just be me, the natural competitor who nonetheless had stuck with gymnastics since age three for the pure joy of the sport. I would show the world what I could do while having fun doing it.” Continue reading…
I recalled this article when I found myself wallowing in disappointment regarding an upcoming performance. At the last minute, I had been cut from a dance I was perfectly capable of performing and I wasn’t even considered for two others. I was frustrated and angry. The reasons I was given for the “oversight” were partially understandable, but not in the least satisfactory. The wound still fresh, I knew that I had to somehow rally my spirits in order to move on and to perform well the dances in which I was cast. I read and re-read Shawn’s words:
“Going into the all-around competition, it was my event. It’s what I worked my entire life for. And there’s something sad about being given a silver, and having the world think that you aren’t worth the attention. It makes you find the pride for the work and success within yourself. To me, that made me the strongest and most proud person I could have been.” (Shawn Johnson)
I’m still frustrated with the situation, but I realize that this performance is only one of many. This is what I train for and what I sacrifice for, but it is only one performance. There will be other opportunities. The company does not define me, neither are they my end goal. They are part of the journey, not the destination.
So whether or not the situation is rectified (which I doubt it will be), I still need to remember to take pride in the dances I am a part of and to put all I have into each one, just like an Olympian.
This would make the second time this week where “I’m feeling very Olympic today!” I wonder how many times this will happen over the next week…