It is so important that we do not let our failures break us, but that we choose to bend with the storms life sends us, and find a greater strength than before. Yes, these are easy words to write, but I can safely say I am doing this very thing myself.
I feel motivated by the deep emotion shown by the 2016 Olympians. Their enthusiasm and dedication has awakened a new desire in me to overcome obstacles and hindrances in my own life. How we handle defeat reveals more about our character than how we handle success. I am so moved by some of the Olympians who gave their very best, but were unsuccessful in winning a medal. Today they make their journeys home and try to pick up the pieces that disappointment and loss have dealt them. I want to tell them that they are champions too, whether they wear a medal around their courageous necks or not.
One such Olympian quoted the following:
“The only thing I ever wanted was to compete in the Olympics.”
(Syria’s Yusra Mardini, representing the Games’ first ever refugee team, after winning her 100m butterfly heat.)
I want to say to these amazing Olympians that you can bend without breaking; that what you’re waiting for could be just around the bend…if you can choose not to let the challenges drive you aroundthe bend or lose your mind in the process.
For so many Olympians like the horse jumping champion Nick Skelton, taking part in the 2016 Olympics was a matter of great courage. The veteran British Olympian, aged 58, who quit the sport in 2000 after breaking his neck in two places, vowed: “I am not going to stop now.” Nick Skelton, riding Big Star, won a dramatic six-rider jump-off to claim GB’s first show jumping gold to become the oldest winner of an equestrian event.
Imagine what Skelton would have missed had he given up in 2000, or allowed the fear of ever recovering from a broken neck govern his future. His horse, perfectly named Big Star, had almost been put into retirement too, but Nick Skelton believed that they could come to Rio and win. To even have the opportunity to be an Olympian was a huge achievement for both rider and horse alike. If he had allowed a broken neck to literally break him, his future would not hold the amazing gold medal achievement he enjoys today.
But Nick is a winner, even if he had not won gold. Each Olympian is a winner simply because they overcome so many tough and challenging circumstances in order to compete. There are so many motivational stories being shared every day about the obstacles and personal health setbacks that many overcome in order to finally be in Rio. I am sure a book could be written with all their moving and exhilarating accomplishments. To me, it is one of the reasons I found myself glued to the televised overage each night.
“When life’s strong winds come blowing, bend with them and let go. By bending, you will become stronger in new places. By letting go, you will be making room for the new and the better.”
You are all amazing individuals; you have chosen to bend, but not to break. How you choose to handle your defeats speaks volumes to the world waiting to see strength overcome weakness. Well done! I applaud you because you move me to keep persevering and bend with the storms of life.
The 2016 Olympics have ended, and as I watch the energy of the closing ceremony, I want to awaken a desire in us to overcome the obstacles that try to break us. Make a decision now, that by the time the 2020 Olympics start, you will be able to look back and see how very much stronger you have grown!
For the past few days this phrase has rolled in and out of my thoughts…a lot. And every time it hushes me into contemplation. So today, surrounded by lemons and cough bottle, the morning sun beaming through my window, and a softly flickering fire in my hearth, I write to you…to speak softly yet directly to your heart.
I could write lots on this four-worded title, quite easily and elaborately, indeed until the cows come home…but that is not entirely what my intentions are; instead I want to share something of a gem with you that will shine hope and inspiration, and determination into that backbone of yours. When I ponder over the word broken it brings to mind many images. A person can feel broken from disappointment, unemployment, divorce, loss, disillusionment, sadness or grief. A season of brokenness can overcome a person who finds themselves in unplanned circumstances. Brokenness can come in many shapes and sizes, but one thing it conveys is that the person feels useless, undervalued or discarded. Here is where I want to jump in with a sunbeam and shed some light on this somewhat negative idea.
Think for a moment, about a crayon.
✎ ✍ ✎
(Yes, deep I know!)
When a crayon is broken, is it no longer a crayon? No. It still has all the colour and substance inside it prior to being broken, it has just experienced a change to its outer appearance. You may be walking through what feels like a tough battle, and though you feel like throwing your hands up in despair, don’t. Instead throw them up in victory because you are choosing to walk through this and seize your ever-welcome breakthrough. You are still that same person before life sent some things to challenge you. You still possess those amazing qualities that so many admire.
All of the essence of who you are is still within you. You are still that capable, intelligent, impressive individual now. You just need to keep being your amazing self and sit the storm out. Don’t let it weaken the dreams you have, or the value you assign to your potential. You can still colour, and you can still bring your marvelous colour into the lives of those around you.
Resist the temptation to give up. I love using broken crayons, they have an edge, sharpness and accuracy about them that an unbroken crayon just does not have. I can use it to get into tight corners and even leave a greater depth of colour than a blunt, unbroken crayon allows me.
So hang in there, whatever colour you are, you still have it. You still carry all of the great brightness and beauty that make you who you are. One day you will look back on this and see how it shaped and fashioned you into a stronger and more resilient person. Your true colours will keep shining through. You will walk out of this season with the durability and determination that only this season could have given you. Only those who have been lost in the storm are then able to help others find their way out of theirs. People need what you have, in fact they need it much more than you realise.
Find your ‘umph‘ again, turn your ‘try‘ into ‘triumph‘. Don’t worry, you are not on your own, there’s a lot of us right there with you.
Forrest Gump said that ‘Life is like a box of chocolates‘, and sometimes I think it’s also a lot like a ‘box of crayons‘. So today, remember that ‘Broken Crayons Still Colour!’