When Missy Franklin was two-years-old, she wandered 30 feet into the ocean after a fish. The water was 12 feet deep. “I don’t think she needed to be rescued,” her father recently said about the incident.

Even as a tot, Missy had an innate fascination with the water. Fortunately, both she and her parents recognized this passion. Today, she is an Olympic Gold medalist swimmer. Her nickname?  ”Missy the Missile”.

When you look at the bookends of Missy’s story, it seems obvious that she would achieve her Olympic goal. After all, if she always wanted to be a swimmer, she must have known that she would succeed, right?

It’s just not that simple. Missy Franklin, like every other Olympian, has worked her tush off. Take Gabby Douglas, for example. Now a two-time Olympic gold medalist in gymnastics, Gabby felt so weighted down by the sacrifices she made for her sport that she almost quit gymnastics altogether.

But did she quit? Absolutely not.

Behind every Olympian is a story of early mornings, bad days and hard-headed devotion. Mornings in the pool, at the gym, in the rink.  Because when you want to achieve your dream more than you want anything else, those crack-of-dawn mornings and hours of tears are all worth it.

Most of us were not made to become Olympic athletes. If you can’t handle pain or stand the thought of flipping your body through the air, you’ll never be able to force yourself to become an Olympic gymnast. Unless you want to succeed at your sport more than you want anything else, it doesn’t matter how svelte or fit or young you are.

But that’s fantastic news!

The thing is, while Olympic gold is a fantastic dream, it’s far from the only one.  And I’m a firm believer that every single person has a unique set of strengths and desires that paints their passion. Not sure what your’s is? Promise me that you’ll keep searching.

Gold comes in many forms, from becoming a reporter for the New York Times to saving lives as a world-class surgeon. Once you define your unique dream, you’ll do anything necessary to see it through.

If you want to have your “Olympic moment”, you’ll put up with painful hours sitting on a hard chair in front of your computer screen, waiting for inspiration to strike.

  • You’ll put up with the jitters in your gut while receiving a critique on a project that you spent all night perfecting.
  • You’ll put up with the dirty dishes piling in the sink when you spend every spare minute working towards your dream.
  • You’ll put up with the strange looks from the other people at the dinner table when you say “no” to desert for the thousandth time.
  • You’ll put up with all of it, because your eye is on the prize – a shiny golden box of glory that makes you blind to anything standing in your way.

Go get ‘em, tiger.

(Photo credit: Gold Medals via Shutterstock)

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