Monday, August 8, 2016

Price of Perfection…


Are you guys watching the Olympics? I am following them loosely. It’s amazing to see these athletes and what they can accomplish! I feel so horrible though when someone screws up or gets injured - I mean they spend their whole life preparing and their dream can be GONE in just a split second...

I happened to run across an article today about the work it takes to become an Olympian and the sacrifices made to reach that level of greatness. You know, it’s funny, I just talked in yesterdays post about people thinking that it is easy for me. And as I read this article I realized that I make some of the same assumptions about people that have reached that point of utter amazingness, when really it’s about incredible hard work and tons and tons of sacrifice.

Now obviously to get to the point of Olympic greatness you have to have been born with some innate ability. For example, Michael Phelps’ body was just designed for swimming with the unusually long arms (proportionally to the rest of his body) and huge flipper like hands. But it’s more than that. He started competitive swimming at 7. 7 years old. The gymnast Gabby Douglas moved out of her house and was sheltered from the “real world” in order to make her into this outstanding, larger than life athlete.

It takes working tirelessly - hours per day every day of training. Not seeing your family. Not having real life friends. Eating for fuel and only eating the “right” foods. Pushing your body to the absolute limit - through injuries even. And for many of these Olympians - both in the US and other countries - enduring abuse (physical, mental and even sexual) by coaches and other people who take over the often young child’s life.

All to reach that one goal.

Is it worth it?

You see them standing up there on the podium with huge grins and I can only imagine that unbelievable sense of accomplishment.

But it doesn’t come without a price. Michael Phelps has had 2 DWI arrests and a stint in rehab. He has hinted that he was suicidal. Other former Olympians have talked about the adjustment of no longer being an Olympian. Of eating disorders, physical health problems and lacking social skills because they never developed any.

What’s the point of all this? I think about my own journey which is a small FRACTION of what these men and women have gone through. To make a huge life change has and will continue to require sacrifice. Time sacrifice, relationship sacrifices - doing what you need to do rather than what you want to do. There is NO WAY around that.

The question for each of you reading this is how “perfect” do you want to get? Because the more .lofty your goals, the more sacrifices you will have to make. If you want to run a marathon, you’re going to have to make big sacrifices. If you want to lose 100 pounds it’s going to take an incredible amount of effort. So do you set your goals lower? Settle for “this is good enough” instead of “I have to reach this goal”. You might not get where you ideally want to be, but maybe you value your time and, frankly, your mental health more than you want that ideal.

This is the spot I stand in right now. Am I “good enough”. And is “good enough” actually good enough??

I know some people who lost enough weight to improve their health. They have made efforts to “move more”. They are still “technically” overweight and are perfectly fine with this. They are happier and more confident. One woman told me “Look, I’m never going to get down to where the doctor says I should be, that’s just a fact”. And she is a-okay with this. I admit that I talk to people like this sometimes and am envious that they can be content being perfectly imperfect...

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