Gold medals aren’t really made of gold. They’re made of sweat, determination, & a hard-to-find alloy called guts.

Gold medals aren’t really made of gold. They’re made of sweat, determination, & a hard-to-find alloy called guts.Dan Gable

Only a few get to stand on the podium. Do you have the guts to go after your dream?

Only a few get to stand on the podium. Do you have the guts to go after your goals? (2012)

What does that mean?
With the Winter 2014 Olympics in the news, it seems fitting to have the words of a Gold Medal winner (wrestling, 1972 Munich) as the blog post for today.

This quote, while mentioning the physical object Gold Metal, is more about what it takes to earn one. And being made of gold, or having a lot of gold in the bank is not what it takes.

The details of the recipe may vary from person to person, but it’s basically the same for all of us. Sweat, implying a great deal of effort to get there. Determination, implying there will inevitably be obstacles and inconveniences between here and there.

It concludes with the toughest ingredient to find, guts. Determination and sweat are the baby steps you take on the road to becoming a champion. Guts is what you need when you realize how far you have come, and how much farther you still have to go. Fail the gut-check, and you go home.

Why is having ‘guts’ important?  
It is easy to say you’re going to do something difficult. You might even start doing it. You work on it for a while, and you sweat. You face an obstacle or two, and your determination helps you work past them. But then reality hits you.

You’re exhausted, you want to quit, and you’re only halfway done. You will have to do everything you have done to this point, and do it over again, and do it better, if you wish to have a shot at the Gold Medal, or whatever the goal of your great endeavor might be.

That is when you have to take a ‘gut-check’ and determine if you are made of what it takes to live at that level. Muhammad Ali referred to this when he said how little he enjoyed all his training, but that he would finish as a champion. The same applies to our lives, and the things we do.

How often do we give up, and just let things slip away simply because we lacked the guts to keep going? Guts is what helps us face hardship and do so with vigor and certainty of purpose. We might not win, but no one will be able to forget that we were there.

Where can I apply this in my life?
We all take on projects or endeavor to do things in our lives. Few have the talent and drive to make an Olympic team, much less come home with the Gold Medal. But that is why they train, so that they are prepared to compete for the greatest prize in their life.

But the rest of us have our own Gold Medals for which we strive. No matter what the goal, we have the option of applying that same level of commitment as an Olympic Athlete. However, not all goals are created equal. Not everyone wants to get a job with that level of intent.

If you were hiring, and two people showed up, one just being there and the other was as determined as an Olympic Athlete, would you have to think hard about which to hire? If you were trying to promote your brand, would you hire someone who was just there, or someone who wanted you like a Gold Medal?

But what about the other things in your life, is every goal a Gold Medal for you? How will you train for five, ten, or more different sports? Most of your goals or projects aren’t really that important. But the ones which are, they need you, your sweat, your determination, and your guts.

Take a moment and consider what is important to you. What is your sport, or in what field of endeavor do you wish to compete for the Gold Medal? Grab some paper and write down a bunch of things which you are doing which are important to you. Try to get some from all aspects of your life, including work and social, as well as family.

Now look at each. What would it mean to you to finish off the podium in that area. Would you be crushed, or would it not really matter that much? If it is the latter, draw a line through it. Do that for everything on the list. How does your list look? Is it kind of empty?

Think of the things which really matter to you, and add them to your list. The things which you could not live without, or without which your life would be greatly diminished. The things which you hope to do someday, which could change the world, or at least a corner of it.

Now look at your list again. Have you found something worthy of being your Gold Medal? Are you willing to sweat to get started? Are you determined to keep going? Do you have the guts to keep going, when all seems lost or too far away to ever reach?

From: Twitter, @LifeLimits
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Photo by Simon Q

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