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Do You Protect Your Time Off Like a Pro? 2022 Olympic PepTalk

Updated: Feb 14, 2022

“I was spending all my time at the rink, which was good for my development as a skater, but not so good for my development as a person.”

Figure skater Nathan Chen, 2022 Olympic gold medalist

  • Freestyle Skiing Gold Medalist Eileen Gu - going to Stanford

  • Snowboard Halfpipe Gold Medalist Chloe Kim - going to Princeton

  • Figure Skating Gold Medalist Nathan Kim - junior at Yale

Do you know how much time these athletes spend training to get the top of the podium?

Well, apparently it's not all their time!

As a former Ivy League admission officer, I testify that you can't get into those schools by spending all your time on sports, no matter how good you are!

Sometimes they're studying, hanging out with friends and family, taking the SAT, listening to somebody besides themselves talk about what it means to achieve at the highest level (Nathan Chen said he realized that at Yale – it wasn't all about him).

Another great Nathan Chen quote - asked what he learned from his failed attempt in 2018, he said, “I realized that going for success isn't all about pushing yourself forward. Sometimes it's about knowing when to hold yourself back.”

I was raised in a high-pressure, high-achievement environment. My first-year Ivy League grades were scorned because they weren't all A's.

I watched my parents work 60 to 80 hours a week, sending babysitters to pick my sister and me up from daycare at 7:00 p.m. because Mom and Dad were pushing themselves to be the best.

So I grew up with this idea that achievement came from always pushing! It's scary for me to not work all the time.

But a 2022 Olympics lesson is that's not the only way to be the best in your field. Maybe it's not even the healthiest way, either, (Is there such a thing as attacking the hill too hard?)

What else do you protect in your life besides the area that you're pushing to excel in?

Do you want to be the top salesperson in your department? What hobbies get you in the right frame of mind? What friends or family help ground you, refresh you, give you a different perspective, or remind you that you're one you are not defined by any one area?

It's easy for me to get into working non-stop (Venus in the sixth house results in a love of work!), And owning your own business is like having a baby that's always crying for attention. When the weekend comes, it's tempting to just keep rolling with the posting, reading, responding to emails, the planning of courses.

I've learned I have to wake up and ask myself, what am I going to do to ground myself in the real world today?

Get away from screens, connect with people I’m not trying to impress, look into the mysteries of nature in front of me rather than the mystical universe “out there”...

I know, I'll bake some bread! I'll clean my house! I'll fold the laundry or sweep the bathroom or call a friend who doesn't need a reading!

Every morning, I put out seed for birds and watch them while I eat breakfast. Real-world activities are vitally grounding when I'm building a metaphysical and energy-based coaching business. Taurus in my 3rd house, tells me that natural world interactions are key to grounding my communication skills and processing my insight.

(If you want help looking at your chart to identify your essential activities, let me know!)

Look inside yourself.

  • What helps you feel balanced?

  • What helps you regain your equilibrium?

  • What do you forget when you get busy, but once you remember, it feels so good to return?

  • Is it bubble baths?

I struggle with deep fears that I'm too lazy to succeed, that if I don't put in 110% effort, I'll fall behind and fail.

But I've learned I can’t minimize off-work activities. No coach would advise an athlete to exercise 24 hours a day. Everyone needs rest.

Don't minimize yours, decide they're foolish, criticize yourself for “wasting time” on non-revenue or achievement activities.

You are a multi-dimensional human being. Whatever you make a living doing or are known for or want to summit, you deserve the time to do a lot of other things also, preferably with people you enjoy.

Here’s a lesson from people who've reached their pinnacle and mastered the mindset of producing under pressure in front of a huge audience.

Do a lot of other stuff, too!

Stuff that makes your heart happy. Stuff that makes you a more well-rounded, grounded, compassionate human being.

What refreshes your energy, renews your insight, and leaves you raring to go to get back to your passion?

How do you make sure you have time for that? Let me know in the comments!

Who do you know who needs encouragement today? Please share this article with them.

If you missed my first article in the 2022 Olympic Lessons series, you can check it out below.


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