Here I am in junior high . . . a proud cheerleader (the Ramen noodle headed girl in the middle). Some of you will claim that this is not a sport. Don't worry, this blog post is not going to debate if doing splits and shouting "Let's Go! Let's Go! L. E. T. S. G. O! meets the athletic code to be lumped into wrestling, basketball, soccer . . . you get my drift.
I was, however, rather active growing up. I was gymnast for years. Took ballet lessons. Was on the junior high and high school volleyball teams. Played one year of basketball as a rather aggressive forward (don't underestimate this petite statue . . . I can be a firecracker!). And, was on the cheerleading squad for many years.
No matter what athletic activity you participate in, I think we can all agree that practice and dedication are essential ingredients to success. Even if you don't have natural talent in a specific sport, working hard will take you pretty far. But, you won't win the race without daily sacrifices.
I once heard a national track competitor say in an interview, "Daily decisions determine your long-term outcome." WOW! What a great motto to live by and remember as we strive to meet our goals. And that goes for every area of life, not just one's that require sweating or bouncing a ball. It refers to loosing weight, working toward a promotion, getting into college, earning money for a car, getting out of debt, getting rid of bad habits, becoming a track star . . . and the list goes on and on.
I don't think Usain Bolt woke up on his twenty-first birthday having a sudden desire to run and thought he could win an Olympic medal by just showing up in Beijing, China. Earning the title "fastest man in the world" didn't come easy and requires daily choices to maintain his reward. I've worked with an incredible organization, Robin's Nest Children's Home, in Jamaica for many years and I can tell you firsthand that this gentlemen is definitely celebrated - but we too often forget that those who find success almost always had to work their way to that position.
How can we expect to win the race without practicing? Or becoming department head yet having no experience in that field of work? Or with becoming fit without healthy eating and exercise habits? There is no fairy godmother with a wand to grant these wishes. That's just not life. That's why it's called a fairy tale. But many times in our society, we forget that our desire for immediate gratification and satisfaction is not reality.
Now . . . we all need a cheerleader on the sideline cheering us on through the tough plays. Supporting us when the other team is up by 10 points. Surround yourself with people who love you for you - no matter if you accomplish your goal or not - but also those who love you enough to push and motivate you to keep moving forward.
Instead of focusing on tomorrow, let's start with today. Because the steps you take now will affect where tomorrow will lead.