I am often asked what are the key ingredients to being an elite competitor. While the ingredients can be numerous, PASSION and FOCUS are the foundational characteristics of every elite competitor. One must have the passion for what they are doing to persevere over the long haul and the focus to accomplish one’s ultimate goal. Allowing distractions, of any kind, to suck energy and misguide focus will derail any competitor and deflate joy.
The fourth Principle of Success: Always Focus Your Energy On Your Passions. We are often presented with routine opportunities and choices that seem to have immediate inconsequential impact, yet the impact overtime becomes seismic. I often talk about the moment I was introduced to my passion. While trying to escape study hall with the amateur excuse of “I need to go to the bathroom” during my junior year, I was cornered by the decorated high school speech coach, Mrs. Sherry Langdahl. She asked me if I would fill in for a humorous duo due to illness. She promised it would only be for 1 week and I could resume my offseason cross country training the following week. One week turned into a 21 year PASSION!!
I always wanted to give speech a try because it seemed fun and something I might excel at doing, but I was too focused on being an “athlete” because it was the cool thing to do. I was caught in the trap of trying to find me real passion while focusing my energy and giving attention to what I liked, not my PASSION.
After completing two years of high school speech, I chose a speech scholarship over a cross country scholarship to attend the University of Mary, Bismarck, ND. My friends could not understand why I would forfeit every weekend to give speeches in a suit! Those likely reading this blog post understand why suiting up on Saturdays is a life changing experience. Speech led me to South Dakota State University to purse a master’s degree.
Again, in graduate school I was focused on being a communication consultant because I saw the $$$$ dancing in my eyes. Yet, being around the energy of young adults, helping them find their voices and leading a team brought me a sense of pride and joy not replicated anywhere else. I followed my passion for teaching and mentoring to Gustavus Adolphus College where I spent 13 years.
I have encountered many people and many obstacles attempting to prevent me from focusing on and enjoying my passion. Undoubtedly, you have and/or will encounter similar situations. Pursuing your passion will infuse you with energy and sharpen your focus enabling you to set your sights on the ultimate goal.
Focusing your energy on your passion is a choice, a choice you have complete control of making. Today, I challenge you to place your energy where your passion lies. Successful people always focus their energy on their passions….always!!