I love the Olympics. The best athletes in the world competing to be the best athlete in the world…. You've gotta love that. It's not just about the competition. It's about the stories. Oldest Olympians. Youngest Olympians. Mothers. Fathers. Sons and daughters. All fulfilling a dream. For some, their first Olympics. For others, their last. For all, an amazing life experience.
During the Olympics, we see examples fo greatness over and over and over again.
How does that happen? What makes one great in their sport? In their field?
I think it boils down to 3 things:
1. Giftedness or affinity
3. Hard work
One must first honor a natural talent. A natural gift or skill. I don't know what comes first – the chicken or the egg but I do know it seems that for most, it is the gift that authentically calls them forth. That thing which they would do for free simply because they love it. It's fun. It's energizing. In fact, on some level it is the thing which we cannot not do.
Opportunity follows. Most great people can point to a time in which the tide began to turn. Someone noticed their gift. Perhaps it was someone noticing a Michael Phelps in the pool when he was seven. Perhaps it was someone noticing a high schoolers aptitude for math or gift at writing or painting pictures. They were noticed. They were encouraged and that seemingly small (or perhaps huge) gesture moved them in the direction of their gift. They may not have even known where they would land but simply that they were honoring an authentic gift and having fun exploring the possibilities. For you, it may be the thing which you could do easily as a kid. Maybe the thing you wanted to be when you grew up.
You know…before LIFE happened…
As they work their craft, paths begin to reveal themselves and as time passes, the greatness begins to reveal itself. They stayed true to a vision. They stayed true to a dream and it seems as if – one day – they just show up to the rest of the world in their greatness.
Michael Phelps is undeniably a great swimmer. Perhaps the greatest swimmer in Olympic history – the next few weeks will tell the tale but one cannot deny that he would not be where he is without 1. an affinity (or gift) for swimming 2. an opportunity to train and develop his craft and 3. all of the work he puts in every single day.
Natural ability can make you good. Honing your craft…studying your craft…continuing to grow and learn your craft…can make you great.
At the end of the day, it doesn't matter if you are an athlete or a teacher. A butcher, a baker, a candlestick maker. Have you found that "thing" that draws you forth to greatness?
What other ingredients would you add to the list?
You were born to be great.
YES, you can!