“Progression is everything! I'm so proud of myself for going out there and trying.” Chloe Kim after falling twice, while trying to land a 1220 in the women’s half-pipe.
That's really great, right, to say she’s proud of herself for trying it, even if she failed.
But for me the miraculous part is that she said this … wait for it…
...right after winning a freaking gold medal!
Was she crowing about standing on the top of the podium in back-to-back Olympics?
No, it was about for trying something twice and failing both times!
In tears over how proud she was about piling into the snow in front of millions of people on international television.
She was answering a really crucial question, (one reason why action sports are so inspiring!)
The commentator's question: “How important is progression to you?”
Her response: “Progression is everything.”
Which is interesting, because in a lot of sports, the answer would have been winning is everything or, the gold medal is everything, or getting into the Hall of Fame is everything.
But in action sports, pushing the envelope - inevitably trying and failing like a hundred times - is everything!
Progression doesn't mean achievement, actually landing the 1220 in competition! It just meant that she kept pushing forward. attempting something she knew she probably would not be able to do.
Most people who win a gold medal in their twenties can't live off that achievement for the next 60 years. Having gotten that perfect job, what happens if you get fired, or the company goes under? As an athlete, when you win one competition, do you have to keep winning them all to stay proud? Achievement can be temporary.
But if you consider your actions through the lens of progression - moving forward, even through the ups and downs - you can continue to feel good at any particular moment, whether an apex or a nadir. Progression is ongoing.
For me, that's mind-bending.
I was trained to be risk-averse - don't get your hopes up, you probably can't do it, don't put in too much time, that sounds like a lot of work. If you didn't have a concrete plan and you weren't at least 90% sure of success, there wasn't any point in starting.
After all, if you weren't at the top, you would have failed.
I don't think Chloe Kim thinks she failed because she couldn't put 1220 to her feet in the Olympics. I think she's rock-solid sure that sometime, some woman will land a 1220, and that will constitute her success. Her attempt will inspire others - current competitors or young guns watching at home - who’ll nail it in four, eight, or twelve years.
Are you holding back, only trying when you're sure you'll be the one to achieve?
Or are you trying because, dammit, somebody should try! And if it isn't you, maybe your effort will inspire the person who ultimately can actually succeed at whatever amazing thing you’re attempting.
What’s on your heart that makes your psyche say, "Just try it." Even if you can't succeed as thoroughly as you want, somebody should get the ball rolling, take a stand, be the voice in the wilderness, plant a flag one step closer to the top of the mountain.
Somebody should say “Hey, this is important.” Trying and even publicly failing, you inspire others to pick up the baton and keep going until somebody finally crosses the finish line.
For me, it’s bring metaphysical techniques like astrology and divine connection into the mundane world so that those of us who are sensitive to such things can enjoy our work instead of feeling like we have to divorce our practical side from our spiritual side and get through life as half of ourselves!
I don't know how possible it is, and sometimes I wonder how many of my readers just tune out when I talk about divine connection, astrology, or what I hear from Spirit.
But, dammit, I feel somebody should say these things. And even if I can't gain full acceptance, perhaps I can at least move the ball forward a few yards closer to the goal.
What are you working towards, even if you may not be the one to get the ball into the end zone?
If you have something, you'll find it's a lot of fun to fight for what you really, deeply believe in, even if you, personally, may never win the game.
Let me know in the comments what you are working on!
And if you'd liked this 2022 Olympic PepTalk, check out the previous one in the series on identifying your obsessive superpower!