Missed Opportunity? Probably Not.

Frustrated employee beside successful one reading news on line sitting in a desktop at office

What is meant for you will not go past you. – Colette Baron-Reid

When I was about 10 years old, I wanted to be an Olympic gymnast – just like every other little girl at that time. I had watched gymnast Nadia Comaneci make history at the 1976 Olympics by achieving a perfect score. She wowed audiences, had an enthusiastic personality and went on to win multiple gold medals. There was just something about watching her on television that made me want to be just like her. I was not alone.

Swept up in gymnastics fever, I started taking gymnastics classes at my local YMCA. I enjoyed my classes, but after some time I began to get the feeling that I had missed the boat on my career as an Olympic gymnast. I observed that most Olympic gymnasts had started taking tumbling classes at about the age of three and I was already over the hill at ten. I also noticed that Olympic gymnasts tended to be really small people. They were much shorter than average and they were of stocky build. I, on the other hand, was skinny and growing like a weed and I already knew that I was going to be over average height as an adult.

It began to dawn on me that some of the characteristics I needed to have in order to become a gymnast were completely out of my control. What ever happened to ‘being whatever I wanted to be’?

Since then I have had several experiences where I have been working toward a dream that I have been unable to achieve. It often leaves me wondering why I would have a desire for something that didn’t come to fruition. What I’ve learned is that I am usually clinging to the form that a particular dream should take instead of to its essence. When I focus on the essence instead, the realization of that dream feels within reach.

If an opportunity is truly for you, it will not go past you. If the train doesn’t stop at your station, it is not your train.

Did I really want to be an Olympic gymnast? If I had had the clarity as a ten year old and been able to list all of the reasons I wanted to be just like Nadia Comaneci, none of them would have involved anything even remotely physical. That should have been my first clue that maybe being a gymnast wasn’t my true passion. I had never expressed a desire to be in a gym for eight hours a day training. I did not tumble around at home when outside of gymnastics class. My parents did not have stories about how I wore out the furniture at home by jumping up and down on it so much – because I hadn’t.

The fact is, I’ve never been an athlete. If you ask me about my favorite ways to spend my time, lying on a couch and watching a movie is in my Top Ten. If it’s raining out, even better! In that case, I’ll probably grab a nap somewhere mid-movie. I have to force myself to exercise and would be just as happy if I could maintain a my health and my weight without lifting a finger. That doesn’t sound like the personality of an Olympic gymnast, does it?

So, what was so inspiring to me about watching Nadia Comaneci achieve great things as a gymnast? For me, I was inspired that Nadia had the world’s attention and that she was spreading a lot of excitement and positivity. I loved the idea of having the opportunity to spread a message to a lot of people at once and having that message be something that is uplifting, encouraging and inspiring. That is what was really resonating with me, although I did not realize that until many years later.

Being able to identify the essence of what was so inspiring to me helped open up so may more ideas about how I could achieve my dream, in a way that was uniquely personal to me. I had always loved to write and so now that is the medium I try to uplift, to encourage and to inspire others. Thankfully, I can usually write for hours – all while lounging on a couch.


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