They say, “Work hard in silence, let your success be the noise.”
As an athlete, I find myself constantly charging down the track to the finish line of success; running until my legs get sore and leaping over hurdles that are dotted along the path to triumph.
On the journey, sometimes my trail leg gets caught on the obstacle and breaks my momentum—leaving me momentarily stumbling to regain my footing.
As a professional athlete, feelings of self-doubt, disappointment, and demotivation are always looming. Over the years, my determination and resilience have been tested repeatedly.
What I’ve learned is that I’m not the only one—just as you are not alone in your struggles either. Too many of us struggle in silence without realizing there are others like us.
That’s why I keep coming back to the quote above. It makes me realize the hurdles I’m leaping over are experienced by many people—especially other athletes—around me every single day.
Our struggles take on different faces for all of us but, at the end of the day, that’s all they are: hurdles that need to be leaped over to get to the other side.
Doubting Your Abilities
You’d be surprised how many athletes struggle with low self-confidence and are racked by feelings of doubt—even basketball greats like Kobe Bryant have spoken about experiencing it.
We all want to be better, it’s a fundamentally-human feeling. The underlying feeling of insecurity can sometimes rear its head and make you question everything you believed.
At times like these, I like to use the doubts as a challenge to better myself. Instead of accepting what the voice in your head is whispering to me, I use it as an opportunity to fight on.
A Lack of Social Approval
The fear of failure can paralyze you, standing as an obstacle to achieving your goals. None of us are immune to seeking some form of validation from people. Sadly, though, that isn’t so easily attainable.
Throughout my career, I’ve been met with questioning gazes and doubtful inquiries from people all around. Whether their concern was over an African competing in the Winter Olympics or that I was too stocky to be a Skeleton athlete.
I’ve come to realize that you have to tune out the background noise to meet your goals. Instead of focusing on the opinions of a select few, draw your motivation from the love and support of your well-wishers.
The unconditional support from my beautiful wife and daughter is what gives me the courage to overcome any adversity that comes my way.
Grueling practice sessions and months of training leading up to an event can take a toll on your motivation. To achieve my goals, I know that I need to keep pushing for my best performance.
Athletes often struggle with maintaining motivation. Why am I doing this? What if I don’t succeed? Should I be risking it all for this dream?
At times like these, I like to remind myself of why I started in the first place. As American Figure Skater, Dorothy Hamill, said, “It’s like a marriage, you don’t walk away from it.”Think about how much you love the sport and how much is at stake for you.
For me, making my family proud and representing my continent—Africa—is enough to continue persevering toward my goals.
Pursuing ambitious goals isn’t easy, but you won’t succeed until you’re ready to give it all up to make your dreams come true.I’m going to continue leaping over the hurdles on my way to winning a medal for Ghana and Africa at the 2022 Olympics.