I’ve lived a very charmed life when it comes to working with greatness.
When I was a little boy I wanted to be a professional football player. I dreamed of some day putting on a helmet and walking onto a football field, and playing in front of thousands of people.
I loved football.
Alas, I wasn’t born with the genes to make me fast and big and measurably capable of playing professional football. Or at least, that is what I have told myself all these years since leaving the game I loved.
Maybe I could have played professional football, but I hadn’t yet learned the valuable lessons that have since marked my life through the incredible experience of training Olympic champions.
After leaving football behind, I decided a life of fixing and building high performing athletes would be my connection to the world I loved, the world of competitive sport.
The lessons I have learned from these Gold Medal Olympians will serve me for the rest of my life. Each one has left an indelible mark on me, a simple mark of humility.
Each one is completely different. Their personal journeys all have their own expression born from their own perspective and experiences.
They are all impressive in their own light.
These lessons learned I am now sharing in every way possible. I share them in my mentorship of others, I share them with my friends, I share them with my daughter, and now I share them with you.
Lesson #1 — Be You
Stop trying to be someone else, to live up to someone else’s vision of who you should be, what the public adulation wants you to be, or perhaps your social circle wants you to be.
Just simply be you.
In every one of these champions I saw them embrace themselves either through their journey or perhaps before I even met them.
Each of them is unique, and each of them makes no apologies for being who they are, nor should each of us.
Just be you.
Lesson #2 — Fear not to Over-reach
What does it mean to over-reach?
Well, it simply means that you can’t rest on what you have accomplished, or where you are now. You most certainly should celebrate and live in the moment, but even so, while you are on this earth, you are meant to explore it and yourself.
To see how you really can grow.
If you want to grow, you must over-reach, you must go beyond your current state.
Fear not who you can be.
Lesson #3 — Stop Taking Yourself so Seriously and Enjoy the Ride!
Each of these champions is intense and focused when they need to be, but one of the common threads of them all is that they also know how to be free. Free in the moment, free in expressing themselves, and free in exploring the possibilities.
To be truly free, you need to let go. Let go of your ego, and embrace your spirit.
Dance, sing, laugh, float, fly, fall, jump, cry, hug and flop, just don’t be so serious all the time.
Lesson #4 — Experience the Mountain
All mountains can be climbed.
It is not the summit that is the point of the climb (nor the gold medal) it is the experience of the climb. What you learn, what you see, how it shapes you, how it contributes to your sculpture, the one you are slowly chipping away at for yourself. And it is not the end, but simply a station once attained simply meant to prepare you for your next journey.
Lesson #5 — Embrace Support
None of these people stood at the top of the podium at the Olympic games without the assistance of so many.
No one achieves anything without embracing a community of support.
That is the key though, embrace your community, respect your community, return the support of your community, and recognize that it is a part of you?
You cannot do it alone.
I have been changed by every one of these fine souls, Alex Bilodeau taught me about passion, Jennifer Heil taught me about work ethic, Mikael Kingsbury taught me about fun, Tessa Virtue taught me about tenacity, and Scott Moir taught me to free my spirit.
They all taught me these lessons and so much more. I have been extremely blessed to have them all pass through my life and contribute to who I am.
But such life lessons are not empowering unless they are shared for the greater good, so I offer them to you the reader as food for thought in your own journey.
Reach for the stars but in so doing, keep your feet firmly connected to the ground as it is the foundation for your every step.
Originally published at medium.com