Before I start I have a Confession, I love the commercial on CBC for the Paralympics and it is the inspiration for this post. I should also confess that this won’t be my only post based on the tagline of a commercial (I’m lovin it… just kidding)
I’ve been watching the Paralympics in Sochi and I’m so inspired and amazed by the athletes. It occurs to me that I relate more to the athletes in the Paralympics more than I do to the athlete in the Olympics. I always assume that the athletes in the Olympics are “gifted” and possess mysterious physical attributes that are not available to me. I guess I feel that if an athlete with a physical disability can be successful that maybe I can to.
That got me thinking about why? I’m not physically disabled, but I do feel like there is something missing and that’s where I relate to the Paralympian. I feel like I don’t have all the tools that everyone else has and that like the Paralympian I will have to “Overcome” to be successful. Well at least that’s how I used to feel.
I realize that the elements required for a Paralympian to be successful are the same as it is for any high level athlete. They need the insight to learn technique (language), they need physical practice to perfect the technique (body) and most importantly they need the strength to be immersed in failure. The vulnerability an athlete needs to be willing to fail is key to their success (emotion).
This is where I get stuck. Nothing scares me more than vulnerability. The idea of failing at anything, especially failing in public is enough to prevent me from trying at all. For years I joked by saying that instead of no pain no gain I was just going to stick with no pain. This was more telling than I realized. I can’t say that I have overcome my fear, far from it in fact, but I do acknowledge my fear and I’m more comfortable to step into it and be willing to fail.
As I’m watching these athletes I’m not focused on their disability, I’m seeing more and more the courage they display by being willing to fail so that they can succeed.
This is the lesson for me. It’s not what’s missing that’s important, it’s what’s there.