In last week’s article, we talked about embracing disappointments and getting your hopes up. 

This week we are going to talk about falling in love with the work of becoming an elite athlete and not falling in love with your results.

“I fell in love with the work. And the work was joyful and it was difficult and interesting;
and that was my focus.” 

Jerry Seinfeld, Creator of the insanely popular TV Series “Seinfeld” based on his stand-up comedy act. It is estimated that Jerry earns $36 Million dollars a year in royalties from a show that ran
for just nine seasons.

Only four years into my Olympic career I had the opportunity to sit in a CBS production truck that was airing the sliding events at the Winter Olympic Games. It was in that truck that I learned one of the most valuable lessons of my athletic lifetime that I have carried with me still to this day.

It was obvious to me that the people in the truck were working in some crazy-paced New York rush-hour style to get the footage from that day’s race packaged and ready to go for prime-time TV coverage. And while everyone was hustling to get the show edited the producer said something that I’ve never forgotten. He said, “We are going to bust our butts to get this show done but will probably get bumped for the soap opera story from figure skating today.”

Disappointed, I asked, “Why’s that?” And he said, “Because our TV ratings are driven by the viewer who really loves the soap opera crap and who would rather see the fluff story than the real glory. If we didn’t love our work here that would get really frustrating. We’ll pull an eighteen-hour day only to see the work we put together never make it on TV.”

That has always stuck with me. The idea that if you can fall in love with the work you do every day you’ll never have a bad day

As an athlete, you are going to put in a lot of work. You are going to miss going out to the movies with your friends and maybe a couple of birthday parties. You’re going to spend extra hours in the weight room and in the gym. You’ll spend hours and hours pouring over video footage of games and events to help you get an edge. You are going to do all that AND you’re going to lose probably more often than you win. All of these activities are the “work” that you will need to put in to have successful competitive events and your results in those events will determine how far you go in your sport.

Most athletes, however, fall in love with the results of their work and not the work itself. They get completely wrapped up in only the results of their games and their competitions. Good result? Good day. Bad result? Bad day. Bad life, actually. 

For many professional athletes who retire, they are often quoted as saying that what they miss most is not the competition but the good times in the locker room. The time spent in the gym and on the practice field. This is where the real work happens and it is ultimately what the athlete misses most. 

But just like those guys and gals in the production truck that day at the Olympics, if you can fall in love with the work you put in every day, you won’t worry too much about the result. You will also have confidence knowing that if you put in your best effort you have already won. You will withstand the inevitable ups and downs that you will face in a sport that is incredibly unpredictable and you will have a long and very healthy athletic career.

(This article is an excerpt from “An Athlete’s Guide To Winning In Sports and Life” which hit #2 in Sport Psychology on Amazon when it launched.  Be sure to grab your copy by clicking here.)

More Articles:

Watch Out For Naysayers and Haters

What Our Athletes Can Focus On Right Now

Is Your Athlete In His/Head On Game Day?

Join The #1 Mental Performance Coaching Program For Aspiring Athletes

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Olympian Jonathan Edwards

Olympian Jonathan Edwards

Founder - The Athlete Breakthrough Blueprint

Olympian Jonathan Edwards is the Creator of "The Athlete Breakthrough Blueprint": The world's only mental performance training program for aspiring athletes with big dreams.  Over nineteen years he has worked with athletes who have gone on to or competed in NCAA D1, D2, D3, MCLA D1 and D2, the Olympics, NHL, MLL, NLL, NFL, and others.  Feel free to link to this article from your blog and share it with an athlete, parent, or coach who would benefit from these concepts.

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