As a student-athlete for my university's golf team, I continually meet with my team to discuss not only what characteristics make a championship team but also what characteristics make the individual a champion in a sport and in life. A headlining characteristic that can be applied to everything from sports to business is a strong awareness of vision. Let's talk about the importance of vision, how you can apply it into your daily life, and how it can change it forever.
Vision: a clear path to where you want to go, but also a clear plan of what you have to do to get to the end of that tunnel and a clear reason for why you want to and are working towards that end goal. That end goal is great to have, but it is imperative to identify what steps you have to take to get there.
As the year is winding down and the new year is upon us, this is a great time to reevaluate our individual goals in life and set our path to get there. But, as we are all human, we know that even if we have a clear path, the most difficult part is sticking to it. We always strive to put 100% effort into all we do, but it is inevitable that we're just going to have some off days. Sometimes we get sick, we get swamped with so much work to do all at once, or sometimes we just don't have the energy to get up and do what needs to be done. But, I believe it is essential to keep this perspective in mind: We are all blessed in one way or another and we need to appreciate that. We have been given gifts and talents to be able to accomplish our dreams and reach a higher purpose in life. By giving in to the temptations of not giving it your all, you are showing signs of disrespect. You are cheating yourself and disrespecting your own gifts by not doing your best to cultivate and develop the gifts you have.
So, when times do get tough, what can we do to find that extra drive in ourselves to find the resiliency to push through? One thing that my golf team focuses on to help us push through is the idea of establishing our "68s" right at the beginning of the year. What is a "68" you ask? It all originates from Czechoslovakian hockey player Jaromir Jagr, who decided to wear the jersey number 68 for a really touching and important reason. The number is a reference to the year 1968 the year Soviet tanks invaded Czechoslovakia to bring social reform. Although Jagr wasn't alive at the time, his grandfather lived through this tragic event and unfortunately was imprisoned for defiance of the Communist takeover, and he later died in prison. Jagr wears this number as a remembrance to his grandfather and all who suffered during this tough time. By wearing this number on his back during every game and every practice, it acts as a constant reminder of what his higher purpose is, what he is playing for. So, when times do get tough, he is reminded that he is not only playing for himself but also for the people of his home country and the others who were not as fortunate as him.
By finding that bigger purpose, we enable ourselves to broaden our perspective towards our life and current situation. We come to realize that life is not as horrible as it may seem at the time. We come to recognize that the blessings outweigh the hard times, and only through struggles are we able to grow and come out of the fire stronger and better than ever.
From personal experience, establishing my own 68 and seeing my teammates establish their own from the get-go for the past two years has significantly made a difference in the choices we make compared to others who may not have established one. For myself, last year my 68 was my family. Not just my parents and my little sister but all of the people I consider family. Last year I kept in mind that my actions and decisions should all be done to benefit me and help me perform at my best in order to honor all those who have helped me get to this point in life. This year my 68 is my faith. By keeping my faith in mind, I remind myself of the statement I mentioned earlier. Personally, I believe that I have been blessed with an amazing talent, and I am being called to use this talent to help others who are less fortunate. To not put 100% into improving and cultivating this talent means that I am not appreciating the gifts that I have been given and I am not doing all that I can to help others.
If you haven't found your greater purpose yet, there is no better time to start than now! Discover your purpose and your passion, set that clear path, and find your 68. Sometimes, the first enemy is ourselves when we're lying in bed in the morning not wanting to get up and get work done. Your end goal and your level of value you have towards your dreams should guide you, but when all else fails, your 68 will always be there to give you that extra push.