It is no secret that successfully published authors possess many of the same character traits as an Olympian. A world-class swimmer swims hundreds of laps daily. An author sits alone and molds thousands of words into a single creative masterpiece.
What creates such herculean individuals? If everyone could glide over a hurdle like track and field super star Lolo Jones, or create unforgettable characters like multi-Rita winner Nora Roberts, the answer to this question would be a no-brainer. The truth is that the preparation of any major accomplishment begins years before the reward is reaped. It takes sweat and hard work to Go for the Gold.
Are the daily habits of great achievers different from everyone else’s? Or is there some supernatural force at work? I don’t think so. If you look beyond the obvious, like setting and keeping goals, you’ll find the psychological traits that propel people into greatness. Some are God-given and others are developed through hard work.
Join me as I examine three of the characteristics successful athletes and authors share.
They have integrity.
The dictionary defines integrity as “adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honest.” To me, that means staying true to myself when facing challenges or distractions. Successful Olympians and authors lead hectic lives. Personal issues, family and endorsement commitments, book signings, and conferences whittle away at their practice or writing schedules.
How do they remain on task? They leverage their personal integrity. Their commitment to being the best is greater than any outside obligations or rewards. They don’t lie to themselves. They realize that if they don’t put in the hard work, they won’t get good results. Success doesn’t happen by chance. It happens by knowing what they want to achieve, and by staying true to a dream regardless of the obstacles life places before them.
They are positively motivated.
I’m sure you’ve heard someone say, “I’m just not motivated.” This is a total misconception. Everyone is motivated to do something. Even if they’re sitting around watching television all day instead of actively working toward achieving their goal, they’re motivated. The problem is that they’re negatively motivated. They require outside inspiration.
Positive motivation is intrinsic. It comes from within a person and is not influenced by praise or monetary gains. When muscles scream for release during the last stretch of a twenty-six mile marathon, cross-country runners rely on their hours of training to cross the finish line. When authors struggle with writing a difficult scene, they rely on the hard work they’ve put into learning their craft.
What drives this elite group? From my own experiences as an athlete and a writer, I know that most of them shun praise and seek recognition. A person has to prove they are worthy to receive praise. This is extremely difficult because no one is perfect all the time. Recognition pays homage to the hard work a person has put into being the best he or she can be.
They have self-confidence.
Top achievers listen to that small still voice in their head that tells them they are destined for greatness. This doesn’t mean they strut around with their chests poked out, believing they are better than anyone else. Instead, they recognize their own true worth and allow this belief to shatter their limitations.
Amy Purdy became the highest ranked adaptive female snowboarder in the world after having her legs amputated below the knees. She refused to allow the horrific result of bacterial meningitis to win. What compelled Amy forward after such adversity? What makes authors persevere after receiving numerous rejections or bad reviews?
Achievers like Amy Purdy respond to life with action. They look for solutions instead of getting bogged down in the negativity. The Olympian uses the latest technology to perfect his form and slash seconds off the clock. He gets up at four in the morning to practice even when his joints ache. The New York Times author never stops honing her writing skills. She moves on to the next story, believing that what she has to say is important. She files her latest rejection letter and continues writing her work-in-progress.
What I’m writing about is persistence. It does pay off in the end. So look forward to the future with enthusiasm, because it’s no secret that when you expect something good to happen, and belief in it enough to work hard to achieve it, your dream will come true.
Do you have what it takes to achieve your publishing dreams? If so, I would love to help you along your journey. Submit three chapters and a synopsis of your completed novel or your entire novella to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.