From as young as I can remember I wanted to be a professional athlete. But more than that I just wanted to win.
I was 11 years old when I watched the San Diego Padres take on the New York Yankees for the World Series Championship in 1998. Being from San Diego and I was extremely happy to see ‘my’ Padres fighting for a championship ring. Watching guys like Tony Gywnn, Ken Caminiti, Greg Vaughn, and Trevor Hoffman had been a highlight for me growing up.
The one thing that always stuck out most to me was the very end of game 4, when the Yankees made the final out to win the Championship. I saw more than 25 grown men jumping around and crying with excitement and joy. Even though it wasn’t my hometown team who won, I was still in awe by the pure exhilaration and enthusiasm displayed by the Yankees after making that last out.
“This is what winning at the highest level looks like” is what I immediately thought to myself. I remember experiencing emotions I had never felt before as I watched the team in pinstripes celebrating on my television. It felt like an out of body experience and a grand sensation as if I was actually on the field celebrating with the team. I was in the middle of the circle being jumped on and hugging all the players. That is truly how real it felt to me.
I wanted that type of real joy, that excitement, that jubilation of accomplishing the ultimate goal. It didn’t even matter that the sport was baseball. It was more of the idea that they accomplished something together, and that this achievement brought grown men into tears. I remember thinking, “I have never even seen my father cry, why has this brought them all to tears? Why is this something so great?”
My mother and father explained to me the type of work that went into this team’s accomplishment. I started to understand that the hard work and dedication didn’t just come from what I saw on the field, but actually started in the offseason. Each individual had set out on their own to become successful. Each player also made, at the minimum, a year long commitment to their team.
They went on to explain to me that it was a team effort and even though there might be star players on the team, everyone had a specific job/role in order to get the team into that position. During that particular season nothing had gotten in the way of their goal. All year they faced battles individually and collectively that were going to try to knock them off track. Needless to say, nothing stopped them. In the end, they experienced victory.
No, matter what it was, I wanted to feel that. I wanted to be there, get there, experience that to its fullest.
This is that attitude that I have tried to take into every aspect of my life. I try to ask myself, “What would the ultimate emotion of success feel like when I accomplish my goal?”
In today’s society we are too concerned with outside factors that we forget to just go after what is ours for the taking. We strive for the accolades, recognition, and acceptance over the authentic feeling of self-elation or real euphoria.
It’s almost like we do so numerous things for other’s acknowledgement that sometimes we forget why we started.
We most likely started because we loved something, we had an end goal or a vision. We knew that it would bring us happiness and joy and excitement. Our “why” began with wanting something significant and knowing that the path to get there would make us better.
We make commitments, promises and sacrifices to ourselves and for ourselves to ultimately win.
Don’t let anything stand in the way of your “why”. It is already hard enough to achieve the goals that we want and to make the day to day commitments to getting there. We shouldn’t make it any harder on ourselves by letting outside factors come in between that.
Obviously, there will be things out of our control that will come into the picture but don’t let the opinions of others, the naysayers, and haters get in the way. Your path doesn’t look like everyone else’s.
If you don’t have a “why” yet or you are unsure what it is, keep searching. Discover what makes you happy and what brings you joy. Keep stepping outside of your comfort zone. Try things that may not make sense to others. Be different.
Whatever you do, just keep going, you’ve already won.