I’m not a huge sports fan. I don’t consider myself particularly athletic. I do, however, enjoy staying in shape. I walk most days and aim for 10,000 steps/3-5 miles a day. I combine this with strength training by taking Barre classes, Yoga or Fly Fit a few times a week.
I watched a lot of football (soccer) as a kid growing up in Nigeria. Football was always on TV. I still get excited every time the World Cup comes around. I remember just last June watching the World Cup while gathered around a beach bar with other spectators in Antigua, all trying to get the best viewing spot around the TV hanging behind the bartender. It was an exciting time. There I was, rooting for the Nigerian team, along with my English friend and other Antiguans who were supporting Nigeria. All with the turquoise-blue ocean and powdery sand just a step away!
Sports is that one thing that can organically bring people together.
I also love cheering for my daughters during their sporting games. My older daughter played volleyball in middle and high school, and my younger daughter now plays basketball and runs track.
Going back to my childhood, I also watched quite a bit of wrestling—American wrestling on TV in Nigeria. My dad was a big wrestling fan. I found it fascinating to watch him while he was watching the wrestling. He would make every arm and leg movement the wrestlers made, copy their facial expressions, sound out the oohs and aahs, and almost fall to the ground from his seat, as he was completely engrossed with his viewing. He watched the TV, and I observed him from a seat nearby in the living room. Come to think of it, I’m not sure if he ever noticed I was in the same room with him while he watched his favorite sport. He seemed too fixated on the wrestling.
As I prepare myself and my goals for 2019, I suddenly got an aha moment.
Last week as I watched a Champion League football game on TV with an English friend, I was particularly fascinated by player Mohamed Salah, of the Liverpool, England, team. His tenacity, focus, precision, and physical strength as he moved effortlessly but efficiently dribbling around other athletes as he guided that soccer ball to its intended destination and scored goal after goal was magical to me. He is the true epitome of an athlete.
As I watched, I pondered what it really takes to be an athlete, a successful athlete who has made a mark in their particular sport.
The ponderer, wonderer, and dreamer in Iyabo started to think deeply… What drives these really fit men and women athletes to keep going, never give up, and score victory after victory?
What qualities are embedded in these warrior-athletes that stay fired up game after game and lead them to the finish line?
Then, I thought, yes, that’s it—aha—it is these same qualities that I need in 2019.
I need to start thinking more like an athlete, like a warrior. Iyabo, there’s a key message here, I told myself. Emulating the athlete will help you, help others achieve their goals in the new year and beyond.
The qualities of an athlete are the exact qualities needed in the business world, in one’s career life, and in fact, in one’s personal life. Think like an athlete, emulate an athlete, achieve your goals, and sustain your achievements. Yes, now I get why I’m watching this game today.
So here we go:
As you can imagine, since the game last week, I’ve done a lot of reading online around what drives an athlete to succeed, and the traits of an athlete.
World-class athletes have these qualities:
- Good Time Management
- Raw Talent
- High Tolerance for Pain
- Emotional Maturity
These were obtained from this link.
The other articles I found online had some combination of these same qualities. I was particularly struck by a few of them:
Emotional maturity—You can’t allow yourself to get too angry, too nervous, or too depressed. This is particularly crucial in your career life. In fact in any kind of relationship—professional and personal. Emotional immaturity is a recipe for failure.
High Tolerance for Pain (really interesting!)—You have to be able to put up with a lot of pain from pushing your body to its limits. This is so reproducible in our careers, in achieving our goals. The process is going to be painful. Not only do we push our bodies to its limits as we work toward our goals and dreams, but our spirits that are also often pushed to its limits. But then the Focus and the Drive keep us going.
Raw Talent—Some athletes are just born that way. We all are born with unique gifts. Our job is to identify these gifts/talents, develop them, and use them to change the world. Your raw talent may not be my raw talent. Key here is never to try to do exactly what someone else is doing. Your talents could be completely different. We must stay in our lanes and be true to our own gifts.
As I read the list, I felt blessed to already have a lot of these traits within me. These traits have propelled me to where I am today, and I need to hold them steadfast in my heart for 2019 and beyond and allow them to keep propelling me forward.
I also plan on keeping images of world-class athletes like Mohamed Salah, Serena Williams, Gabby Douglas, and many others in my brain as I visualize what it takes to be an athlete…what it takes to achieve my goals and dreams…what it takes to be a champion…to never stop until I cross the finish line.
Will you join me in emulating the athlete as we ring in 2019?
Which of these qualities do you already possess within you? Have you identified which ones you need to work on/develop for yourself?
Are you ready to allow them propel you to achieve your goals?
I am! Join me as we emulate the athlete, achieve our goals, and live permanently happy!
Have a healthy, fulfilled, successful, and permanently happy 2019, everyone!
Author, Permanent Happiness, available on Amazon