Couples figure skating is by far my most favorite event. The duo moves as though they are one.
As I watch, I recognize the hours and hours and hours of practice that have gone before the short performances. Not only for the skaters, but also for all the athletes in every event.
Most have spent their entire lives preparing for their event. Often sacrificing ordinary childhood and teenage years to become the best they can be.
In every one of the Olympic athletic contests, the players reach deep inside and pull out amazing performances. Some soar. Others crumble.
What makes the difference?
Character. Specifically five character traits.
What are these characteristics?
I’ve watched skaters make mistakes and keep going. Slope-style snowboarding have crashed and tumbled then executed their second run perfectly.
Competitors know it’s not what happens, but how you react to what happens that makes you a champion. Nancy Kerrigan –1994 Olympic silver medalist – managed to win an Olympic medal even after being kneecapped. Last night, Ty Walker did her skateboard run with an ankle injury!
Stuff happens and things don’t always go according to plan. Olympic champions adjust and move on.
Similarly, successful writers roll with whatever life dumps their way and carry on to deliver when it really counts.
If you listen to interviews with Olympic athletes, you realize they judge their performance against their potential. They don’t spend time comparing their performance against others. They believe in their own potential.
Successful writers don’t judge their success on how other authors are doing. Why? Because no two writers travel the same path and each new manuscript is different and, hopefully, better than the last one.
Competitors who aim for the Olympics face early morning practice and another session in the afternoons even on weekends. There is never time off. Something deep inside drives their ambition or they wouldn’t work so hard toward their goal.
Successful writers write, rewrite, and polish a draft when all their friends are at the movies or chatting on Facebook or Twitter and/or watching the Olympics.
I’m amazed at how Olympic athletes perform their routines while people in the stands cough, scream, and walk around. Their focus never wavers even with their top competitors staring at their every move.
Truly dedicated writers don’t allow anything to throw them off their game, either.
Olympic athletes are always looking toward the next competition. No matter what their performance in the current games.
Winning a medal in the Olympics is the goal, but not the be-all-to-end-all for champion athletes. Doing better next time is paramount.
Successful writers write because the voices in their heads won’t let them stop. Producing a NYT best seller is merely the cherry on top.
Indeed, success as a writer isn’t easy. The competition is tough…Olympic level.
Those who succeed possess these five character traits.