Not every day is a win. Some days, we face challenges that make us want to forfeit our efforts. Other days, we feel on top of the world. In the end, winning is not all that really matters. In the end, we need to realize that our contributions to those around us matter. Our place in the world is not only about our successes or our failures, it is about how much we grew, and how we impacted the world in the process.
When I was ten, I immersed myself in the fine art of figure skating. It interested me, randomly, when I watched my younger sister’s figure skating “Spectacle.” I am not sure what struck me about the graceful skaters twirling and jumping in their beautiful skating outfits, but I knew then that I wanted to be one of those skaters on the ice.
I enrolled in the program the next season, and it grew to be my passion. It was my greatest challenge, my biggest fear, my proudest achievement, and my happiest memory. It makes up such a large part of who I am, and the lessons I learned from the sport could not have been learned elsewhere. I had a coach who changed my life, and taught me that giving up was never an option. He taught me to feel worthy of my accomplishments and pushed me to strive beyond my own limitations.
The lessons I learned from figure skating resonated so strongly with me that I now apply them to all aspects of life. I understand that life may, at times, become discouraging. There are ups and downs. But whatever the day to day challenges are, you must be strong enough to pick yourself up, you must be persistent to grow and improve, and you must persevere. Every day, I looked forward to the two hours on the ice. I looked forward to the endless challenge, and to the opportunities to improve. Not every day was a win, though. Some days I would fall, again and again. I would get back up, try the jump, and fall again.This is exactly the lesson that was so vital. You must be able to get back up, no matter how hard or tired you may be, and with determination, anything can be overcome.
I never expected the sport to become such a large part of my life, let alone continue into my college and post-college life. Now, I still continue to figure skate, I am a coach, and I teach group and private lessons to young skaters who started off just as I did. Through college, coaching became my weekend job. It allowed me to stay close to the sport, and also allowed me to help other skaters develop the same passion I have. If you have a passion, keep it close to you. Use your passion as fuel to help others, and make a difference in the world around you. If you have a passion for something, share it with the community, find out how you can turn it into a part time job for yourself on the weekends. And no matter the difficulties you may face, be persistent and persevere.