I’ve been reading a book written by David Hemery, Olympic gold medalist. It’s called ‘How to help children find the champion within themselves’. It’s a great little book; full of guidance for bringing out the best in our children.
The book contains a letter that David Hemery wrote to the athletes taking part in the Sydney games. I want to share this with you, because I think it illustrates beautifully, the importance of having an intention, and the impact each and everyone of us has on the people around us.
14 August 2000
How to bring out the best in your competitions in Sydney
Congratulations on making the Olympic team. By now much of your hardest physical preparation is completed. And as you know, the closer you get to the time of your competition, the more your thoughts and emotions will play their part in how you do. Much has been written of the importance of clear, positive mental focus, and the need for your passion to empower your aims. Doing your best in the most important competitions of your life must be every performer’s intent. What may be new is the thought that ‘Only if an individual or team has a bigger mission or vision in mind will they lift themselves over the limits of self-interest.’
So how would a bigger mission help and what does is mean? Before answering that I’d like you to reflect on the development of humans. The sequence of conscious development is said to pass from body to mind to emotion to spirit. The last is often our search for meaning and purpose in our life. By aligning all parts of ourselves, with purpose and positive intent, we will be far more likely to fulfill our potential, in life, and in the games.’
‘Whether you like it or not, you are a role model for the next generation. For the sake of illustration, if you reach the top eight, or even becoming a medalist, it could mean some fame and some increased fortune, or at least a foot in the door for interviews for future work. This is great personally, and I hope that you reach your aims. Your life could also add value for others. Your performance could inspire others to achieve something special in thier area of life.
The better you do at the Games, the more children’s eyes will sparkle, and others will seek to hear your story and your messages. Fame and fortune can be fleeting, but your story can live on in the inspiration of others. So what is your story? You may have overcome injury or sickness; you may have overcome prejudice of gender, race, religion, class or education; you may have overcome a sense of inferiority or poverty; and you may want to share beliefs and ideas.
Simply, how could you be on a mission in the Games, one beyond the obvious self-interest? How can you link your intent to achieve with intent to serve?
Allow your true greatness to shine through your performance.
Very best wishes
David Hemery MBE, BSc, EdD
President of UK Athletics
Remember, you don’t have to be an Olympic athelete to be a champion!
Speak soon ……