Many life lessons can be learned from sports. Determination is no exception.
I have the awesome privilege of being the assistant track coach at Eagle’s View Academy. As a distance runner myself, it has been a new experience for me. Track and cross country are very different. For starters, cross country is a fall sport. Track meets take place in the spring. All cross country meets are 5K (3.1 miles). That’s it. One event. Usually the boys and girls run separately. (Apparently, offensive moves are not uncommon in a boys’ race. Girls just kind of keep their hands and feet to themselves.)
At a track and field event, there are MANY events. A meet can easily last for more than six hours. Athletes can enter multiple events. Coaches evaluate their runners, and they enter them in the events to which they are best suited.
At practice, the head coach and I push the students. When we’re healthy, we run with them! We feel their pain. We know how hard it is to complete a tough workout when everything in your head says you want to stop. But the training goes on. Why? Because we have a goal. Often, it’s not necessarily to win a race (although that would be really nice.) Instead, we focus on personal progress. Getting better. Pushing ourselves beyond previous limits. We are DETERMINED to show up and work hard and do our best.
I shot the image above at a recent track meet. I believe these girls were running a 400 meter race. And they were all business. These girls have determination. They have grit.
Angela Duckworth defines grit as “perseverance and passion for long-term goals.” Read more on the subject of grit HERE.
Lessons in determination and grit can be applied to so many other areas of our lives.
For example, consider my professional photography business. It is easy to slack off, not follow through, and/or to give up. Being a successful photographer takes both perseverance and passion for long-term goals. It’s much easier to stay on track and do the parts of a job that you’re not as excited about WHEN you consider the big picture. This goes along with one of my favorite quotes: “Discipline is choosing what you want most over what you want now.” (author unknown)
Success in anything usually doesn’t find you in an unexpected landslide. Instead, it’s achieved step by step by people who are determined to succeed.