Success is Fuelled by Passion
I recently watched the European Athletics Champions in Zurich and was blown away by Jo Pavey’s incredible 10,000 gold medal winning performance. The woman is amazing – 40 years old with two small children, her second only 11 months old. A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a previous blog on age and how it shouldn’t limit our goals. Pavey has shown exactly how to do it and watching her performances over the summer have been truly inspirational.
Running for enjoyment
Every time she’s interviewed, it’s apparent that she’s having the time of her life regularly saying “I really enjoyed it” or “I’m doing what I love”. That love for her running is what keeps her going. Pavey has created an environment that, whilst being a mum of two, supports her running career with the help of her husband and coach, Gavin. She’s a wonderful reminder about why everyone starts out in sport – because they enjoy it.
So now the Commonwealth Games are over, but what a Games they were! After my own personal disappointment of not making Team Scotland, I was hesitant about going to watch any events. I had thought about leaving the city altogether and trying to pretend it wasn’t happening. Something inside me, however, couldn’t let my personal setback miss out on the biggest event my home city had ever hosted.
Sport is my passion. I love it. I could watch it all day long. I am fascinated and in awe of the extraordinary skills that humans develop, the physical demands that athletes put themselves through and the success that comes to those whole dedicate years to one or very few goals. So I put my frustrations aside and embraced the Commonwealth Games with tartan, saltires and face paints. I watched athletics, cycling, netball and triathlon all live and followed everything else through the brilliant BBC coverage. We are so fortunate to be living in a time where it’s possible to be watching three events at once! There were so many success stories, so many underdogs rising to the occasion and so many who’d overcome unbelievable challenges. What’s clear in all these sporting heroes is their passion for what they do.
Passion never goes out of fashion
Passion is one of the key ingredients for becoming successful at anything in life. Whatever the goal may be, there will be setbacks and challenges along the way. If you do not love what you do, how can you possibly keep going when times get tough? How will you get through the long hard gruelling sessions, how will you keep motivated through injury or bounce back from poor performance? A love for your sport is what keeps you going. When I think about my own sport of athletics, my heart starts racing. All my favourite memories come back. The feeling of running fast (well, fast for me!), the feeling of knowing you’ve pushed yourself as hard as you can, the smell of the track on a hot summers day, the noise of the commentator and the starters gun, the nerves, the friendly and familiar faces. I get equally excited watching the sport.
An inspiring example
Think about something you love and are passionate about – the feelings and memories you have will be positive and outweigh anything of the bad times. If you’re going through a setback right now, then remind yourself why you love your sport and why you’re going to get through this challenging time. Write it down and it keep it with you and use it when you feel like giving up. I’m so inspired by many of Commonwealth competitors and watching the Games both live and on the TV reminded me about my true passion. One performance that stood out for me, was that of Geraint Thomas in the men’s cycling road race. I went to watch with some friends and the conditions were awful – cold, very wet and very windy. It was tough for all the riders. We only survived spectating for 6 laps before surrendering to the weather and returning home to watch the end of TV. Thomas, who famously rode the Tour de France in 2013 with a fractured pelvis had only finished this year’s tour the week before. Only twelve riders finished that Glasgow race from nearly 130 that started showing just how tough the conditions were. Thomas admitted he wanted to stop but something inside fuelled him to keep going and make a break when he did. That drive, that commitment and dedication only truly comes when the reward outweighs any of the bad times. How else could an athlete hurt themselves if they weren’t passionate about performing?
There were so many stars from Glasgow who were inspiring in many different ways, far too many to mention them all. Then there were those who experienced disappointment and setback. Hopefully, their overall experience of Glasgow will eventually outweigh their personal disappointment and give them the drive to want success. Misfortune and difficulty is a powerful catalyst. Whatever the outcome, every single one of the athletes at Glasgow will have the passion for their sport and the drive for success in common. If you really don’t love what you are doing right now, it’s unlikely you’ll ever become successful at it. So find something you do love and you’ll be more than happy to do it all day long! As Galileo said “Passion is the genius of genius”.