Even with the results announced on Twitter throughout the day, I couldn’t stop myself from tuning into the Olympics after work. I had a lot of fun moments – watching Andy Murray win the gold medal in tennis in straight sets with an ace after losing at Wimbledon in June, discovering rhythmic gymnastics, and cheering on Alexandr Vinokourov as he unexpectedly won the Men’s Road Cycling race (Go Team Kazakhstan!).
One of the commentators talked with Katie Bell after a diving round, and she described her mental preparation. It struck me how positive she was, and yet so calm. Katie said, “I own this! It’s just another meet, and I know how to do this, so I can relax.” What an eloquent statement. Born prematurely, Katie was not expected to survive. She also suffered life-threatening injuries during a dive in 2007, puncturing a lung, separating her chest cartilage and dislocating ribs.
I often get anxious as I’m trying to learn new things, or if I’m working under a tight deadline. How many times do we get distracted on details that don’t necessarily affect the final outcome? If you’re Katie, the little things can throw you off – the pool water is cold, there’s too much noise in the arena, or other divers are distracting or annoying as they wait to dive. How often do we run all the negative scripts about the final outcome, instead of visualizing a satisfying result for everyone involved?
I’m sorry to tell you that Katie didn’t get a medal this year, but she’s a winner to me. This week, I’m going to take her words to heart. Whenever my heart starts to race or my breathing gets shallow, I will remind myself that I can relax. In the words of Ram Dass, “The quieter you become, the more you can hear.”