You might think that some of the choices you make as a gymnast are pretty big ones. Choosing a gym club, which summer gym camp or even their optional floor music can feel like a monumental deal with everlasting consequences. And, these choices are significant.
But there are other decisions that gymnasts learn to make that will serve you well after you no longer go to any gym or camp or have any need for floor music.
These are the choices that will serve you well for the rest of your life.
Here are some favorites:
DECISION TO FAIL. Doing gymnastics is a decision to fail because no gymnast gets through a career (or even a workout!) without failing. Making the decision to fail will serve you when it is time to take risks academically or professionally because you will understand that failure is nothing more than feedback whereas many of your non-gymnastics peers will think of failure as the end of the world.
DECISION TO TRY AGAIN. Every time a gymnast falls, the decision is made to get up and try again. Resilience is one of the hallmarks of successful and happy people.
DECISION TO DO SOMETHING HARD. Gymnastics is hard. So are many other worthy things in life. People who are scared of doing hard things limit themselves. You are not afraid to do hard things.
DECISION TO KEEP GOING EVEN WITH IT HURTS. Pain is inevitable and gymnasts know how to work through it. Gymnasts learn to recognize pain that is the discomfort of growth from pain that is a signal of damage.
DECISION TO LISTEN TO FEEDBACK OF AN EXPERT. Coaches are experts. Seeking experts opinions and incorporating their feedback is a often overlooked life skill.
DECISION TO TUNE OUT THE FEEDBACK OF A NON-EXPERT. And there are plenty of non-experts who will give their opinion. Knowing who to listen to and to ignore is an important decision.
DECISION TO WHOLLY COMMIT TO SOMETHING IMPORTANT TO YOU. To learn to make choices that others might view as sacrifices because you want to achieve mastery of something is a decision that great leaders make every day. You learned this as a young gymnast.
DECISION TO CONTINUALLY IMPROVE. There are no miracle solutions or overnight remedies in gymnastics. Just continual improvement day in and day out from putting in the work.
DECISION TO OVERCOME YOUR DOUBTS AND FEARS. There were times you didn’t think you could do it. There were times you were scared to try. But you did anyway. Those decisions taught you to choose the best version of yourself instead of the frightened version.
DECISION TO ALLOW YOURSELF TO BE JUDGED. To stand up and have a number assigned to your effort is not an easy thing to do. Yet, when you make the decisions to become comfortable with others judging your work you free yourself from the fear of their criticism and are able to see it as feedback and suggestions for improvement.
Mary Lou Retton said, “Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice; it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.” The choices you make in gymnastics will pave the road to achievement!