Dan Waldschmidt

by Dan Waldschmidt

November 4, 2012

Why Life Needs To Be Tough Before You Can Be Amazing.

Life is hard and then you die.  If you’re successful that is.
That’s what Olympians believe.  They know that “things getting tough” means that they are in rare territory.  They are in the company of champions.  Competitors.  Game on.

They welcome tough.  It drives them to be successful.

And it’s a lesson to remember if you plan on being amazing. You should expect things to be hard.  You should plan for a struggle.  A fight.  A conquest.

That’s the cost of achieving impossibly hard, amazing things.

It’s hard.  And stays hard.

You have to be harder. Tougher. More determined.

What you shouldn’t start talking about is “working smarter” or “taking a break”.  You shouldn’t start rationalizing your weaknesses.  Or pretending like it’s the right move to give up.

Tough is what’s right.  Not what’s wrong.

Ask Kerri Strugg about how tough you have to be to be a champion.

She anchored the women’s gymnastics team.  The strongest member of the 1996 American Olympic team she was the “secret weapon.”  An accomplished vaulter she was often called on to close a match for the team, winning back points lost by other members of the team.

As the American team entered the final stage of the competition everyone was looking at Kerri to seal the deal for the team.  She just had to score higher than 9.3 on her vault and the American team would take home the gold medal.  And she had two attempts to get it right.

But her first try ended horribly.

Kerri landed awkwardly, leaving her with a nasty ankle sprain and a score of only 9.1.  The crowd gasped and her coaches rushed to the mat and helped her up.  The commentators on television started talking about the wasted opportunity for the American team.  In her injured state, she would have to leave the event unfinished.

But while the commentators were talking, Kerri did something different.

She took a deep breath, slowly blew it out, and sprinted straight back at the vault.  Gritting her teeth against the pain she flung herself violently into her routine — landing on one foot.

The seconds seemed like an eternity.  Unable to hold herself up any longer, Kerri fell over onto the mat.  The cheers from the crowd were deafening.  As she wiped the tears from her eyes she saw the scoreboard — a 9.7.

She had won the American Women’s Gymnastics Team the gold medal.

What can you learn?  “It being easy” isn’t a sign that you’re getting results or doing anything that matters.

Many times it means you aren’t doing anything new.  That you might not be pushing as hard as you need to be.  That you are just going through the motions.  That you aren’t going to be amazing.

Don’t expect it to get any easier.

Not next year.  Not after that next big deal. Not ever.

You’re expecting the wrong thing.

For more than 2,000 years, Olympic athletes have entered the arena hearing the following words:

Ask not alone for victory, ask for courage

For if you can endure, you bring honor to yourself.

Even more you bring honor to us all.”

The same applies to you today.

Life needs to be tough.  Or you won’t be in a position to push yourself to be amazing.

You need to hurt.  You need to cry.  You need to wish that the pain would stop.

And then you need to push through the chaos, find your purpose for fighting, and create a legendary example  of “being amazing”.

Time forgets most of us.  We are lost in the passing of memorable moments of others.

Perhaps it’s time to change that.

Perhaps it’s time to embrace the toughness of life.  To push past the hardness. To fight through the loneliness and fear.

Go be amazing.

About the author

Dan Waldschmidt

Dan Waldschmidt doesn’t just talk about leveling up. He’s obsessed with it. He's set records as an ultra-runner and been the personal strategist for the leading business leaders of our time. He wrote a book, called EDGY Conversations that accidentally became a worldwide bestseller and continues to share his insights from the stage as a keynote speaker and on the blogs and podcasts you will find here. Most days, you'll find Dan heads-down, working on breakthrough strategies for his clients at EDGY Inc, a highly-focused, invite-only, business strategy execution company based out of Silicon Valley.