To be an elite athlete comes down to one major thing…your mental ability to cope with pressure, failure, defeat, pain.
Sure it helps to be physically gifted, but plenty of people have the body for sport, although may lack the intelligence and perseverance required.
Bottom line is you will always be knocked down. There will always be times when you are told you cannot make it, because of whatever reason, and the only way this becomes true is when you yourself believe it.
I was watching a documentary recently on the legends of Motor Racing, and their ability to overcome life threatening injury and constant defeat is beyond what you would consider humanly possible, and yet they do it, time and time again.
I wrote a blog last year that talked about how I overcame the darkest years of my life. I always believed it was my dream that got me to where I am now, a person who is truly happy with herself and her life. I learnt recently however that it wasn’t the dream, it was me. I decided to do everything to recreate who I was, and if that meant moving across the world and starting again then that was what I would do.
After being told recently that I will never make it back into international competition my inbox was filled with other riders, or readers, who had been told the same, but decided that no was not an option.
A fellow sportsman and friend told me recently that top athletes always face pain, injury, and failure, but that they overcome it by eliminating all the elements that may prevent them from being the best they can be.
They remove all the unreliable, or unpredictable parts of their sporting lives, in order to give themselves the best chance, and then they work harder than all the others.
So that’s where I’m at. Eliminating everything that might stop me, and trying everything that might help. It means commitment, and it means sacrifice, but if we don’t sacrifice for what we want, what we want will be the sacrifice.
We watch a top sportsperson win a race, or a match, and we often overlook the pain, the struggle, the years of bruised body and mind, that it took to get there.
It’s not for everyone, that’s for sure. As horse riders we learn early on that what we do is dangerous, but we are so passionate about what we do that the danger is outweighed by our sense of belonging, of purpose.
I have always said that it doesn’t matter if your dream is to be the best you can be in your own arena, or the best in the world, just decide what you want, and then make it happen!