In Matt Rogers’ book Significant Recruiting, Olympic Gold Medalist and World Cup Champion Lori Chalupny Lawson gives advice to aspiring high school students who wish to become college athletes.

She writes: “It’s not often the skill level that determines which players continue. Skill level may determine what a player achieves, but if the love of the game doesn’t become a love for the challenge it will be hard to find success. Everyone loves the moment of achievement. You have to find a way to love the preparation it takes for that moment.”

Her insight is true not only for athletes but for most circumstances in life. In order to celebrate, you must first become determined to put in the grunt work required to get the results you seek. You’ve got to go to classes to earn that advanced degree. Push through at the gym to achieve your fitness goals. Volunteer for the unglamorous projects at work to earn that promotion. Say yes when it’s so much more desirable to say no.

Whether through mind tricks, discipline, competitive spirit, or anything else, set yourself up to be mentally ready for the entire climb, not just reaching the peak. The more you embrace the whole journey, the more likely it is that you’ll reach your goal.

Source: Significant Recruiting: A Playbook for Prospective College Athletes by Matt Rogers, 2023.

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