What I (vicariously) learned from Jordyn Weiber
I don’t know about you, but I’m going through serious Olympic-withdrawal. For two weeks the Olympics were my constant companion. And now, they are gone. All I have left are memories…
Among the array of memorable moments, one of the greatest story lines of the competition was Jordyn Weiber’s performance during the team all-around finals.
Entering the competition as the gold-medal favorite, Jordyn Weiber made several uncharacteristic falters and balance checks in her performances during the qualifying rounds causing her to narrowly miss the cut for the individual all-around finals. Upon seeing her final scores, the camera fixated on the tears streaming down her face as she realized she would not be competing in the individual finals.
Shocking as it was to everyone, consider Jordyn’s response. Instead of falling apart, she put on a rock-solid performance in the team finals only two days later. She nailed every one of her routines with confidence and grace, icing the gold medal for the US team with her floor routine.
I was amazed and inspired by her show of poise and resiliency in the face of adversity and disappointment. And I (re)learned a few things from Jordyn about how each of us can respond well in the face of adversity.
First, the profound ability to focus. We are bombarded with distractions that threaten to knock us off track all the time. Maybe it’s something someone said at work or that pesky voice in your head that begins to second-guess yourself. “Can I really achieve what I’ve set out to do,” it asks. Yes, you can. Great things can happen when we are able to filter out the distractions and maintain a steadfast focus on doing the hard work necessary to achieve our goals.
Second, the ability to leave the past behind. No one would have been surprised if Jordyn had a mediocre performance in the team finals. But instead of letting her past define her future performance, she let go of the disappointment and excelled. This is a profound insight. How many times have I stopped short of reaching my goals simply because I had failed in the past? Perhaps too many times to admit. But great things can happen when we refuse to let our past define and shape our future goals.
And finally, a refusal to settle. Jordyn’s performance is inspiring because she refused to settle for anything less than what she was capable of achieving. Great things can happen when we refuse to settle for anything less than our greatest potential.
We love sport competitions because, in some ways, they are a proxy for life. The athletes’ journeys are in some ways microcosms of our own. As such, I hope you will be as inspired to continue moving forward with focus, a refusal to settle, and leave the past behind, just as I am.