"You gotta be out of your freaking mind!" was the response I got from one of my best sailing buddies when I explained to him in early 2006 that Tim and I were considering campaigning in the 49er for the 2008 Olympic Games. "Morgan and Pete (one of the other US 49er teams) are currently almost dominating the class and you guys want to go up against them? You haven't even ever crewed in the 49er!"
I understood his reasoning but at the same time also realized that with that kind of an attitude you were never going to win a Gold Medal.
In today's short article I would like to dig into the most important factor when it comes to winning or losing: The Attitude of Winning. There are many parts that make up this attitude and one of them is the way we embrace challenges. It's something we are faced with every day, sometimes just on a small scale and sometimes it can be life changing challenges that must be conquered.
Some people think of challenges as mountains that have to be climbed. They see only the small crevices and steep walls, the difficulty of making it on to the next ledge.
I prefer thinking about the view we will enjoy when we make it to the top. The only way to truly master a challenge starts off by embracing it. You must be grateful to have been put into a position of facing the challenge.
That brings me back to the beginning of the article. Yes, campaigning for the Olympic Games is one of the biggest challenges you can commit to. Doing it whilst having to beat other great teams in order to actually go there makes your life even more difficult! And that is the point. The view from the top of that mountain is only as good as the challenges you must overcome in order to get there.
So the next time you're faced with steep competition at your next major regatta, embrace the challenge. Be grateful of having so many great competitors to sail against. As you're coming into that leeward gate with ten other boats at the same time, enjoy having the opportunity to show what you're made of.
Instead of being afraid of getting you're ass kicked, be grateful for the opening that lets you improve your skills.