There is something universally inspiring about the Olympics: It brings us together as a country to cheer for our team, and as a world community to celebrate our best athletes. We celebrate those who step onto the podium and our hearts break with those who don't.
Our own lives mimic the events played out in Sochi. Whether it's pulling together at work, celebrating when we achieve our goal or feeling the agony of a lost love, we are living the Olympic experience every day. All too often, though, we focus on what went wrong and we forget what went right. All too often, we beat ourselves up for "just" receiving a bronze medal — when that’s really something to cheer about.
When was the last time you celebrated feeling good when you crawled out of bed in the morning? Have you given thanks for having a job or finishing a task you'd been dreading? We view these everyday activities as part of life and not worthy of our time or attention; instead we wait around for the big promotion, the grand love or the acquisition of the big symbol as proof of our value. In the meantime we feel less than our best and happiness seems to elude us.
As I've watched the Olympics this week I gained monumental inspiration from watching the athletes ... not in their performances (which are, of course, amazing) but in their attitude about their performance. It is through these role models we can learn to raise our spirits right now regardless of our results. Here's how:
Acknowledge your personal best. Every step and every event in your life, regardless of the size, includes a lesson you can use to do better next time. If you aren't happy with where you are then celebrate how far you've come, and use your progress as motivation to persevere.
Pick yourself back up. When your best doesn't work out the way you hoped take a lesson from Shaun White and be happy for the success of someone else. Anytime you genuinely celebrate the success of another you elevate your own energy along with the spirits of everyone who is a witness to your kindness.
Be grateful for your role even if you weren't the winner. Channel Lindsey Van and Jessica Jerome who fought hard to make Women's Ski Jumping an Olympic sport and, though not medal winners, they are responsible for enabling Sarah Hendrickson taking that monumental first jump into the history books.
As long as we have expectations, of ourselves and of others, we're going to experience disappointment. That’s a good thing. We can use it to defeat us or empower us to keep reaching for our dreams. Whether your dream is to be on the podium in 2016, to find your forever love or publish your first novel, harness the power of your experience and celebrate your personal best! What Olympic stories have you found the most inspiring? Leave a comment below!
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