Use Hardships To Fuel Motivation and Ignite Passion

I simply admire and adore a good success story where people have taken a painful event and used it to evolve the core of their being. I have had the pleasure of being around many of these people that teaches you how to motivate yourself.

That’s what I love about high-level sport; it gives us many opportunities to face our hardships, setbacks, and challenges. We can muddle through life for years without making a change, but high-level sport puts you in the hot seat and demands it!

Learn how to motivate yourself

My “AHA” moment came when trying out for the Canadian national dragon boat team in 2014.

I approached a lady who was looking over the racecourse and executing her time trial in her mind. Lucky for me she was kind and willing to chat. She asked me how I was doing as she knew this was my first time competing at this level.

I shared how I was grieving and struggling to perform as I had just lost my aunt who was my biggest supporter. She shared her understanding as she had just lost her mom a couple of weeks prior. If anyone had the right to an excuse to not perform, it was her!

She went on to describe how her Mom’s passing made her want to live to the fullest, reach her dreams and make her mom proud. Yes, it was a tearjerker. It was that moment that I saw how I could use my hardship to inspire me or as an excuse to not succeed. And that’s the difficult thing about learning how to motivate yourself, learning to use the pain to move forward instead of making it an obstacle impossible to jump.

This was extremely difficult as I had realized that I had been using this as an excuse, and a good one, to fall back on in case I didn’t make the team. I had come accustomed to seeing life events as “happening for a reason” which meant, not succeeding, changing your path or, this isn’t for you.

I was shocked. In the next moment, I thought that maybe things just happened and my job was to manage how they would define me. Truth be told I was terrified to succeed! I was standing in my own way and sabotaging my own success with excuses I later labeled as “failing in advance”.

I saw how suffering was a core value that was inherited not claimed. I gave myself permission to succeed, which, just meant performing at my very best. I allowed myself to see that life can be sad and good things can still happen. This was a shift in the very core of my being which also meant I left a part of myself behind as I moved forward. (That’s a whole other grieving process we will tackle another time.)

Ignite your passion

I have come to admire and respect those who overcome life-altering events and make the decision to let them transform them and motivate them. They inspire me, give me hope and push me to do the same. These internal changes become the core values that make us who we are and give us strength to draw on when needed.

Making these internal shifts can become a strong trigger to motivate yourself:

  • Is deeply tied to how we perceive ourselves
  • Validates our evolution
  • Gives us purpose
  • Provides direction

So I ask you to search for those moments in the sport when you felt something in the core of your being shifted. When you rose to a challenge. When you push yourself past your limits. When you allowed yourself to change and learn how to motivate yourself to succeed. Take this moment to celebrate your success because change is not easy and being in a high-level sport is a humbling experience that only the brave expose themselves! And If you can relate to this story, I celebrate you.

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