Training for Success
With years of training and a dream of fighting for gold on the U.S. Olympic team, alpine skier Lindsey Vonn was forced to withdraw from the 2014 Sochi Games as a result of a serious injury to her ACL. For Vonn, as well as almost every other athlete, debilitating injuries are simultaneously the most feared and the most inevitable incidents. No amount of rigorous training could compare to the emotionally draining and mentally formidable challenge of a career-threatening injury. Yet, as almost any successful athlete would tell you, resilience, patience, and determination in the face of injury are of equal, or perhaps even greater, importance to perseverance and strength during the actual competition.
The virtues that athletes are taught under the duress of an injury are some of the most valuable professional lessons, relevant not only for Olympians racing down the ski slopes but also for interns making coffee for their new bosses, students struggling to comprehend a difficult new concept, or technicians sitting behind their desks faced with various challenges on a daily basis. Despite a myriad of professional differences, all of these individuals are faced with the mental or physical challenges of their particular work, the frustrations of expecting and demanding perfection from themselves, and the restlessness that comes from the desire to be the best and pave the road to the top.
We have all encountered the platitude that success is a journey, not a destination, but never has this cliché rung truer than when our ambitions are impeded and the road to our professional success appears obstructed. Financial struggle, trouble actualizing a patient's requests, or difficulty perfecting new skills and techniques are only some of the "injuries" and setbacks that may momentarily stymie our goals. It is in these moments of frustration that we must call to mind what first inspired our ambitions. We must recall our desire to learn and our inspiration to improve upon what others have laid before us. We must kindle our humility and patience, eagerly admitting that there is always more to learn and fostering the tenacity that is required to climb the mountain to our best professional selves.
By 2018, Vonn returned to the Olympic slopes, earning a bronze medal, and is today widely considered to be one of the greatest skiers in the world. Setbacks in our professional careers do not have to break us, nor do they have to derail our determination for success. Acknowledge the eternal presence of hardship; it will follow you wherever you aim to go. Remember the reasons why you began your climb to success and carry those reminders with you along the journey. Foster your passion for your work and be inspired by those who help you to learn; they will help you face your challenges instead of running away from them.
Peter Pizzi, MDT, CDT
Editor-in-Chief • firstname.lastname@example.org