Last Saturday I took my daughter to her Dance Competition, Fire and Ice, where she competed her dance company as well as competing with a duet. Over all her studio did very well, walking away with several prestigious awards. However, one high school dancer took a second place finish. I was impressed.
"How can you be impressed with a second place finish?" I can hear the incredulous question now.
I'll admit I was not on the edge of my seat watching each dance routine. I took a lap top and was sitting in the audience writing questions for blog interviews, writing up my impressions on a book I was beta reading, and catching up on some critiques for fellow writers. It was a very productive writing day for me!
However I would glance up and see what was going on up on the stage. I'd watch for a bit, then return to my laptop. I heard some music I liked and looked up to see a very lovely young lady performing a solo. I stopped to watch, and then her music stopped. She kept dancing, and her music came back on and she was in time with it. Very good, I thought, she just kept on going, what a trooper. Then her music stopped again, and she kept dancing. Her music never came back on, and she kept her poise. She danced, and she was the only one who could hear the music. Well the crowd got behind her and cheered her on. She finished and left the stage. I can only imagine the frustration and embarrassment she felt. (I found out later the young lady is in my daughter's dance studio.) However, she just kept on dancing as if nothing was wrong.
She was allowed to dance again with a backup CD that worked for the entire performance. It was a beautiful number and she did very well. She ended up with a second place finish. Considering everything that went wrong, ending number two was fantastic.
I got a letter from my parents many years ago while I was out of the country. They described a church basket ball game my sister was playing in. Now, you need to understand that church ball can be very, very, intense. Unlike the community youth leagues, these games are more like organized pick up games. Each congregation sends their youth to play, they don't practice together, they all just know the game and love it and spend a Saturday afternoon playing in a "tournament". These games can become very physical, and as aforementioned, very intense.
This particular game was for the tournament's championship. My sister's team was behind, in fact so far behind there was no hope in a win. However, my mother described the game as Vicki was playing to win, and she wouldn't give up. Period. No mater that the game was gone, she played with everything she had to win. (Happy Birthday, by the way!)
I've also done several author interviews, and I ask these writers what keeps them going when things don't go the way they would like.
The answer to all these: Inner Drive. Passion. A burning desire to succeed, no matter what.
That is the common factor in the dancer, the athlete, the writer, the business professional, or any other successful organization or individual.
None of these say, later, or when I have time. No excuses. They take full responsibility for the situation and give it everything they've got.
I've watched the Iron Man Triathlon several times, it is ran in Hawaii. The Triathletes start the competition by swimming over two miles. I have done some lap swimming and I can tell you that is tiring in and of itself. After getting out of the ocean they jump on bikes and race for another 110 miles or so. At the end of the bike race they then run a full marathon, yes 26.2 miles.
Stamina is an understatement for this race. I watch as people dehydrate, and drop out of the race. I have seen people stagger across the finish line, but as that line is crossed, a goal, an achievement is attained. Even through the participants' exhausted pain, joy is seen on their faces.
Life just keeps coming at you. It never lets up. There is always something that demands attention. Always has and always will.
So what makes you tick? What is it that makes you get out of bed in the morning. What is it that keeps you going, even when it seems all the odds are against you?
Simple. Passion. Desire. Inner Strength.
Those traits may not be dominant. But they can be developed. Answer the question: What Matters Most? and you will have one of the keys you'll need for your own success.
So when the score is bad, or your music stops. Keep dancing, keep playing, keep going. Do it because you must. If you keep at it eventually you will achieve your goal. It won't be easy, but it will be worth it.