We often see inspiring success stories of athletes, and many would like that for their kids or kids for themselves.
Have you ever looked at seemingly overnight success stories, with straight pathways from being the outstanding athlete early on to carrying the steam through all age levels and entering the highest competitive series even younger than athletes typically coming to the scene? Those athletes make us think that it must have been easy for them.
It might not have been that way, but they kept going when they faced struggles.
Usually, it´s overseen what it really took to enter the big stages or to stay successful over a longer time. Even when struggles are mentioned in a success story, we are tempted to think those have not been as big a deal - because it was possible to overcome them for those athletes. And often, the story continues that overcoming those obstacles makes these high-level athletes feel even stronger after fighting through those periods.
But the fact is that it does take work, time, and determination while going through struggles. If the desire to move on doesn´t exist, the obstacle has a good chance of winning the battle.
When a kid starts a sport, they usually don´t see the hard-to-overcome barriers their role models had to take. This is a good thing because they might not choose this path. Developing an athletic career means developing different skill sets over time. It starts with curiosity, excitement, and passion. Those initial motivators are fundamental, and the “overcome obstacle skill set” will build on top of that.
Even when a young athlete absolutely crashes it and makes it seem to become the sport's hero, we need to be aware that usually, no athletic career shows a straight line.
One or more of the following situations probably show up:
- getting sick just before a competition
- having a bad competition experience
- getting injured
- having trouble bouncing back from any of those
- experiencing body changes growing up
- stagnation in performance while others improving
- and much more
No matter what it is, big or small, it´s sometimes not the easiest to go through that, especially when it comes around the second time.
Then it´s about overcoming the struggle instead of making it even bigger.
How can athletes get stuck in the struggle? They feel sorry for themself.
First, I want to say there is nothing wrong with feeling sorry for ourselves - but only to a certain point.
We hear athletes saying, “If I would have been healthy for this event….” And the truth is, EVERY athlete can find these lines. Me included! It just doesn´t get us far when sticking to those feelings for too long.
After being a bit sorry for ourselves, it´s time to roll the sleeves up again.
Once we let go of feeling like a victim of the setback, we can get back into action - action to overcome the struggle. Energy and focus will shift towards the future goal and necessary action to get back on track.
Feeling bad about a situation forever doesn´t get us anywhere - even when it sucks and makes sense to be totally down. But we don´t want to override those feeling - we want to overcome them. If we just try to cover up the belief of being a victim, it will bounce back. And the best way to do that is to use the struggle to strengthen ourselves.
If you are experiencing those feelings, think about what would be the next best step toward an exciting goal and what would happen if you don´t take this step. Goals are motivating, and motivation gets us going.
Other good questions are:
- Is there is anything the struggle can be good for?
- Is there anything to overcome right now or in the past that still gets carried around?
Eliminating every little pity helps to strengthen the “kicking strugglemucles.”
Those muscles are needed! Two athletes can get into the same situation. One can see it as a threat to their success, and the other can just get up and keep going - who do you think becomes a success story?
Athletes who are very good at something make it look effortless. That´s why those high-level athletes also can make it look easy to deal with struggles.
Making it a goal to avoid setbacks and struggles is very ambitious. Making it a goal to let it look easy to overcome them is a skill - and absolutely possible to develop.
Do you have a Dream? Keep going towards it :)
WHAT DOES AN ATHLETE NEED TO SUCCEED?
Not just one thing makes successful athletes, but a few in combination. Get the list of THIRTEEN by signing up below.
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