The other day someone asked me: what is my definition of success?
The easy or logical answer would be something like – World Championship medals or competing at the Olympics. Maybe if I am being honest those are my end goals, but what happens if I don’t achieve them? Has this whole journey been a waste of time?
Last year I was a member of Team Canada at the Olympic Games. I was an alternate. A pretty massive accomplishment considering I had started the sport only 4 months prior. And yet, it was still very difficult to stand on the side lines – to be so close to the action but to know that honestly no one in the world gave a damn that I was there. Everything I had wanted my whole life was meters away from me but so totally out of reach.
When I moved to Calgary last spring – starting my four year journey towards the next Olympic Games – it did not escape my notice that I could work for the next four years and end up in the same position as I had this time around, or not even make the team for that matter.
I joined the team at the 11th hour, seemingly minutes before the Olympic Games. I took someone’s spot. Someone who had been working for years. This fact is a source of constant motivation and fear for me. I can never be comfortable, never take my foot off the gas. That will be the time when someone else steps up. They could be on the team currently or out there, sitting in a cubical, waiting for the inspiration to take the dangerous leap and risk everything they have built on a crazy dream.
With all of this on my mind – how will I feel if I am an alternate again in 2022, how will I feel if I don’t make the team? There is no question – I will feel so disappointed.
But there is also no doubt in my mind – I will not feel like I have wasted my time. I will know that I have done everything in my power try to earn my spot.
Beyond that, how others perform, the opinions of my coaches and the ultimate decision of who will be on the Olympic Team is out of me control. All I have is this day, and the next, and everyday leading up to the next Games to do everything in my control to be the best athlete I can be. Giving everything I have to this process will have to be enough.
So what is in my control?
I have identified five fundamental categories that I will strive to optimize each day (with the help of Ben Bergeron):
From each of these buckets I have I have made a list of things I will strive to do each day.
Small things. Things that will not move the needle on their own. But if I do them each day. Everyday. For the next three years. Overtime they will add up and I hope that at the end of my journey I will be the strongest I have ever been, both physically and mentally.
In January of 2022 I will find out if I will compete at the Olympics. If I will have the honour of representing my country in the greatest competition on earth.
But I will not waste my time obsessing over this day. Instead I will obsess each day over the daily details. If the days comes and again I will not be able to call myself an Olympian at least I will able to sleep at night knowing that I did everything possible, everything in my power, in my control to earn that spot.
That is all I can do. That is success to me.