Yesterday, I ran past MJ’s Coffehouse in my hometown…a hip hangout for high-schoolers and collegians. An inviting, quaint, warm coffee joint littered with board games and an open mic night that brings a small crowd.
I really only know this much about it from venturing in once with my brother. I was not someone who frequented this place more than 2 or 3 times at most. Some might say I squandered my youth. I was too laser-focused, too serious. I needed to “be a kid” more. But here’s the thing:
I regret nothing.
I wouldn’t go back in time to tell my 15 year old self to skip practice and go to the movies. Or to sneak out and go to that party you heard about at school. Or to just stay up til 2 in the morning instant messaging.
I wouldn’t go back in time to tell my 17 year old self to stop studying. Or to not do a 5 hour swim practice. Or to sleep in late.
I wouldn’t go back in time to tell my 19 year old self that laundry on a Friday night is lame. Or that I should get a fake ID. Or that I need to take an easier schedule.
You could say all I did was train and study and compete…but I understood that I loved accomplishments. I loved the attainment. The crushing blow of not achieving a specific goal only caused me to re-evaluate and find another way to achieve that goal.
I might have trained 5 hours straight or hopped from practice to practice. I might have studied on bus rides or during kick sets in the pool. I might have spent weekends in hotel rooms at races in small towns. I might have gone to bed early EVERY single night. I might have skipped the parties and drinking. I might have passed up the dessert.
But I didn’t lose out on my goals.
I qualified for States…Nationals…the Olympic Trials. I was valedictorian of my high school class. I graduated college with a near perfect GPA. I trained at the Olympic Training Center. Now, I run Fit Tribe.
All those times I said “NO” to something, I said “YES” to my goals. I don’t think I squandered my youth, I think I used it my advantage. I’ve been able to have incredible life experiences because I put myself on the line and held myself accountable.
I’ve been harping a lot about goals and the necessity of setting them and working towards them. Because so often I hear people say something like “well, it just didn’t happen for me.” Or my favorite, “I’m just not that lucky.”
Here’s the thing — you can’t just dream it, you need to WAKE UP and make it happen. Luck has nothing to do with it. Life doesn’t happen to you, you happen to it. You need to go out there and say “YES” to your goals. You need to prioritize them.
You might not get the invites to hang out or you might be called a brown-noser. But when you reach your goals:none of that matters. Because what matters is the fact that YOU did it. You put your heart and soul into it and you made it happen.
My dreams were far-fetched and unrealistic. But I refused to believe it…and years and years of compounding hard effort brought me to where I wanted to be.
What are your goals? What are your wildest dreams?
Write them down. Have you even started working towards them yet or are they just little fairy wishes in your mind?
Get it together…find a mentor, coach, significant other who will only help to elevate you to your goals. Get a support system…and most importantly, hold yourself accountable for your own success.