Lisa Miller: The New Year, Olympians & Perseverance

Happy happy happy new year!  What a great time to think about what we want for ourselves.

Catching up on a few seasons of recorded television programs this winter break,  I watched another Oprah’s Next Chapter and found some intriguing inspiration from her interviews with former Olympians: Carl Lewis, Bruce Jenner, Mary Lou Retton, (and my childhood gymnastics idol) Nadia Comaneci.

Despite having quit a promising career in ballet myself by age 6, despite having only ever hit foul balls in all my 4 years of girls’ softball, and having always been too afraid to kick my legs straight up from a bridge into an actual back-walk-over, I still recognize in myself some Olympic-status qualities.

Yes!  I rock, it is true!

But really, we all have it. It’s woven into our DNA, and we see it even in new babies born too early, fighting to survive.  Simply, it is one of the most basic of human qualities: Perseverance, and with a capital P.

While I have not persevered toward excellence in athletics, these Oprah interviews triggered my realization that I absolutely deserve some serious gold, or at least a bronze here and there, in a few significant areas of my life.

Lisa MillerNone of these athletes medaled before YEARS of training.  Bruce talked about his 6 years of daily dedication, Mary Lou described her single-pointed focus, Carl said that he was never competing against people as much as he was competing against perfection itself.

Well I computed my own personal stats and it seems that I too have quite a record here.  I’ve been a dedicated, focused, striving toward excellence mother for nearly 19 years.  19!  My kids are in pretty good shape, so this is some measure of success.

And like the elite athlete, my serious measures have been based on my own areas of weakness and strength—so yes, trying to “win” here.  I’m not the best, but I’m probably in the trials at least.

But I haven’t given myself enough credit for this.  In parenting, effort really does count, doesn’t it?  (I really don’t need a medal, but cake would be nice)

Without recognizing it, we are all persevering in some areas of our lives, but like breathing we forget to realize it, or we don’t know to look.  Don’t we typically forget when training began? How often do you look back at how much you’ve improved?

So this is the beauty of the new year; an opportunity to realize and look and celebrate and notice where we have fallen short of the mark.  Unlike the ultra time-sensitive pressure on the elite world athlete, we civilians have the luxury of time on top of time to play in our training.

Perseverance is an intriguing biological quality, and I find it so interesting that with a solid support network, all that we are striving toward is made so much easier to reach.

So, I like this new-year opportunity to fine tune the skills and to get reacquainted with my commitments. I’m askin’ the coach to keep me in, and, I’m definitely eating some cake.

Peace and happiness for 2013,

Lisa

I’d love to know, what has been your “sport”, focus, passion?  Leave a note in the comment box below.

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