Winning Gold Medals Isn’t Everything

Have you ever wondered why guys like Michael Phelps get depressed and turn to drinking, or actors like Robin Williams commit suicide? I am not either one of those men’s doctors, but I do know a thing or two about the lonely destination of victory. Yeah that’s exactly right, lonely.

There is nothing wrong with the desire to win. There is nothing wrong with setting big goals like the Olympics or the World Championships. What if you won a Gold Medal at the Olympics, or caught the winning touchdown pass in the Super Bowl? So what? What are you going to do with that platform? What are your intentions? What’s the purpose? Those are the questions that I wish I had asked myself when I was competing.

My good buddy, Spencer Arnold, was hanging out with me this week, and we had a great time discussing those questions. This time we were asking ourselves those questions as they relate to coaching. I decided that if I am coaching just to put someone in the Olympics to prove that I am this amazing coach, then I am going to quit right now.

I am coaching to help other people. I want to teach these young athletes about goal setting, perseverance, work ethic, and forming good habits. However I want to teach them so much more. I want them to desire to help others. I want our entire team to use our platform to help others.

It’s not about winning a Gold Medal! It’s about what you intend to do with that victory!

Winning is awesome, but there is so much more to life than winning. If you have ever helped another person, then you know what I am talking about. Imagine a world filled with people that simply wanted to make the lives of other people a little better.

To me there is something even bigger. I want to Glorify God and tell others about Him. If I am a jerk and all I care about is winning, then no one is ever going to care about what I have to say about God. That happens way too often. If I spend a life of service towards others, the people around me will experience a bit of God’s love. When you love others, it opens the door to talk more deeply about God.

I am talking about myself this time. You don’t have to listen, and you don’t have to believe the way that I do. However, I promise that if you don’t find a bigger purpose than just “winning”, you are heading down a lonely road. There has to be a bigger purpose. If winning was the road to happiness, guys like Ryan Lochte and the late Robin Williams would never stop smiling. We all know that’s not what happened with either.

Spencer and I agreed that coaching has to be about more than winning and medals. We are going to constantly search our hearts. If our intentions fade to selfish ambitions of Olympic medals and team victories, then we are both going to find different careers. This is a short little blog today, but the message is probably the most important thing that I have shared in a long time. I hope that all of you will at least think about it.

Just ask yourself “why”, and then think about your answer. Happy Friday everyone!

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