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Have you ever met an olympic champion?  I’ve had the privilege of meeting three our four so far in my lifetime. Our conversations haven’t been long, but those I’ve met all have something in common.  1) The desire to win.  2) “I want that medal”. 3) “A record would be nice” – to be the best to date. 4) I / my team will be the best – champions.

I use that olympian mindset now and then when I’m teaching; it’s a great image for us as Christians.  There are other results -by products perhaps- of that drive, that self-sacrificing self-discipline, that quest for something noble, which parallel the Christian life.  These high achievers who have had to work hard to reach their goals have several things in common:

  1. Remembering how hard they’ve had to work to reach their goals, most of the high-achievers I’ve met have replaced arrogance with a quiet sense of gratitude.
  2. They carry themselves with confidence. Knowing what they are capable of, they don’t need to strut their stuff.
  3. They appreciate hard work and ambition, even outside their own areas of expertise.

What does this have to do with 2011?

I’m setting my sights high.  I’ve been in my present role for a little over a year now, long enough to get a good read on how things go with targeted, focused, concerted effort.  I want an olympian mindset as I set my next short-  and long-term goals.

These goals will take work – every last one of them.
They will call for me to do things others won’t have to, and to pass on things others enjoy.
Some will have incremental steps to reaching the goal,  Others won’t show themselves sequentially, but will instead “sleep” for a time and then erupt with results, having set in place conditions favorable for success.

I don’t have many original sayings, but this is one, first penned in 2005:

When I see my cue I want to come in on time
in tune
and not too loud.

A track and field athlete might say it like this:

At the starting gun I want to explode out of the starting blocks
first, but not too early,
in great form
my eye fixed on the finish line.

The apostle Paul said it this way:

Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. [25] And everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. [26] Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; [27] but I buffet my body and make it my slave, lest possibly, after I have preached to others, I myself should be disqualified.   1 Cor. 9:24-27

Whether incremental or cumulative, sequential or opportunistic, I want to be in the right place and ready at all times, qualified to bring my Lord honor.

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