Life can change on a dime. For Howard Davis, Jr, his pivotal moment came when his dad asked him a simple question: Do you want to go to the Olympics? As an amateur boxer, he didn’t blink. The answer led him to gold in 1976 and altered the course of his life forever.
Having interviewed about a dozen Olympic hopefuls and medalists over the past few days, I have come to the conclusion that they all have several things in common. Whether it’s curling, swimming, boxing or running, every one of them had focus, commitment and passion for what they do. They had an innate curiosity about how far they could take themselves. They spoke of being so in tune with their bodies that they virtually left them in the pursuit of their dreams, swaying in the Zone, that place of delicious Flow when everything else falls away.
How on Earth can we have a piece of that? I got curious and probed further.
Katrina Radke, author of the forthcoming Be Your Best Without the Stress, is an internationally recognized Olympian, therapist, college psychology instructor, and a peak performance and health coach. She recently shared her insights with me about the importance of focus as the driving force behind any athletic endeavor. As a swimmer who placed fifth in the Olympics in 1988, Katrina said: “If we focus on doing what makes us feel good, we can commit to it more easily. Once we get in the habit of ‘showing up’, we can have more chances of fully engaging our full self into the activity. In this place, I experienced much bliss. We all can have these moments of feeling free, connected to everything, having our body take over and do its thing.”