Recently, I had the privilege of meeting Allyson Felix and hearing her inspirational story.
Allyson Felix runs track and field at the Olympics and World Championships for the United States. She is the most decorated female track and field athlete in the world. She has metaled in every Olympics since 2004. Even though she is an experienced veteran in the Olympic Games, she is only 31!
The reason I was so inspired by her story was not just how much she has accomplished in her life, but because how events and obstacles in her life shaped who she would become.
Here are the 8 key takeaways on what I learned from this inspiring woman, and how this can help you and your teen. (Number 3 will surprise you!)
She had to have strong determination at a young age to pursue the Olympics. But even more than that, she was determined to win gold in her first Olympics in 2004. After she won silver, she was determined to come back and only win gold, and nothing but gold.
2. Goal setting and high standards
Most Olympic athletes are very happy to just be able to compete at the Olympics. But Felix set very high goals for herself by determining to only win Gold. It took her another 4 years before she won gold, but she has been earning gold ever since.
3. Pursue your talent, not your passion
This one blew me away! Felix explained that she pursued track and field sprinting because she showed such talent early on, but this was not something she was passionate about. She had greater interests in other things, and didn’t have sprinting as her plan for her life.
Pursue your talent, not your passion. - Allyson Felix
4. Work Hard
Felix had to work incredibly hard, pushing her body further and further every day, in order to be her best.
5. Stay strong during difficult times
Felix encountered many difficult times when she sustained an injury to her ankle. This devastating injury put her on the sidelines for several important races. She told us how she showed up to the preliminary race for the Olympics with the boot still on her foot and on crutches. She could not run any warm ups for fear of causing further damage to her ankle. But when it was her time to race, she took off the boot brace and gave it her all.
She had to have strong patience in order to wait through the hard times when her ankle was healing.
7. Never Quit
Of course she wanted to quit! An ankle injury like that can be career ending!
8. Sports teach us about life
This is my favorite because I believe it is so true! Sports can teach us all these basic fundamental principles of life, such as determination, hard work, how to lose well, and team work.
So how can you apply this wisdom to your teen?
My favorite takeaway is number 3. Encourage your teen to pursue their talent and not their passion. In many cases, their passion and talent may be the same thing. But if your teen does not show a passion, then you can encourage them to pursue their talent, especially if they do not know where their greatest talents are.
Encourage your teen to join a sport. Sports teach many life skills, like working hard, working as a team, and getting back up after you have been knocked down.
Your teen not a fan of sports? Have them compete in any competition. (Science Fair is a competition). Enroll them in any club or activity of their interest that has friendly competition. Competition can teach the same life skills. (And it looks good on a college application).
It may seem difficult at times to instill good life skills into our teens.
But by encouraging them every day to be all that they can be, then they too can learn the important characteristics and skills that will make them thrive after high school. Good luck on your unique teen!
What life skills does your teen have? And which skills do you wish they had more off? What life lessons have they learned from sports or other group activities? Leave a comment letting me know about your teen.