Tenacity and Team USA
It is one of the traits that U.S. Olympic and Paralympic athletes and hopefuls display on a daily basis and is a key to helping make these athletes the best in the world. Being tenacious was probably the single most important key to my success as a U.S. Boxing champion and member of Team USA. Not just tenacity inside the ring, but being able to think outside the box and find ways around every challenge that stood between me and my dream. It is easy to give up when things get tough, but never giving up on your goals is the element that separates the good from the truly amazing!
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The difficult obstacles I had to overcome are not uncommon in the Olympic and Paralympic world. Many Team USA athletes face similar challenges, such as receiving no funding in his/her sport, overcoming possible career-ending injuries, dealing with the constant pressure to perform and balancing family and full-time training with a traditional job to pay for the substantial expenses of international competition; all while maintaining a positive attitude needed on a daily basis to get out of bed every morning and commit to giving 100% to his/her dream, These athletes have learned to develop a stronger belief in themselves than in the obstacles that stand in their way.
I have the privilege of working with Team USA athletes in the Athlete Career and Education Program that helps athletes overcome some of the obstacles surrounding career development, job placement, and transition. On the journey to the Olympic and Paralympic podium, athletes develop a “never give up” attitude that not only helps them face these tremendous challenges, but also helps these athletes excel in the workplace. As these athletes continually go outside their comfort zone and face each new challenge head on, they gain skills to add to their toolboxes that can help them overcome increasingly difficult circumstances on their way to the podium. Having unwavering belief in yourself and never giving up can lead to opportunities to learn new skills such as leadership, problem solving, goal-setting, confidence, time management and embracing constructive criticism.
As we prepare to watch the best athletes compete on the world’s largest stage, we all can learn from Team USA. Believing in ourselves and striving to be fearless in the face of obstacles while having the tenacity to persevere can lead to a rich skill set that can be instrumental in paving the way to success. Let’s remember the challenges that Team USA athletes and hopefuls have faced just to make it to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, and let’s all cheer for Team USA August 5-21 for the Olympic Games and September 7-21 for the Paralympic Games. Go Team USA!