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Strands of Silver: The subtle highlights of experience worn gracefully by the Heroines who’ve earned them. These are the stories told through time, passed down with love, and marked with strength. They honor the women who are reinventing, celebrating, and owning every chapter of their Heroine journey – who wear their strands with honor and let life’s breeze guide them into the next chapter. After all, Seventy is the new Fifty. Fifty is the new Thirty. Silver is the new Bombshell Blonde.
Business Heroine Readers, insert your own favorite high-quality but didn’t-medal Olympian as you read my letter. I had my own young women in mind as I wrote this.
Dear Golden Olympian,
By now, I’m hoping you’re getting a stream of mail supporting you in your Olympic career. I have been one of your most ardent fans all along, and no less in this 2016 event. But not because of your athletic ability. You are an inspiration to me—and to people old and young, to accomplished athletes, budding athletes, and nonathletes alike—not because of what you do, but because of who you are.
For those of us who “get” what life and growth and transformation and death and resurrection—the human journey, the spiritual journey—are all about, a few seconds in a race mean very little. It’s not that I don’t understand the crushing disappointment when you’ve worked so hard towards something, only to miss it by seconds. I do. Please believe me when I tell you that your “defeat,” if you must call it that, is part of your journey, one which will make sense only in retrospect when you see how it all fits together and you say, “Ahhhh! I get it.” But your true gold—your big-picture gold—lies in the person you are, have become, and are becoming.
I’ve written memoirs for a number of people, and one thing that always comes up during our interviews is the golden strand that is woven throughout each person’s life. Yours is very obvious to me: you are authentic and you stand in your Truth.
I have talked to many people on many occasions about why I admire you so much. It seems like you’ve consistently operated from a place of what was true and right for you. The glitter of fame couldn’t steer you off your path to Gold because you kept your eyes on the big picture. You are grounded and centered—a huge reason for young athletes to look up to you. You must have phenomenal parents to have guided you in this way.
I know you’ll understand this Truth because you live it: Our purpose on this earth is really quite simple. We are born to love and to accept love, and in so doing, to keep the cycle of love vibrant in, and transformative of, our world. Your incredible athletic ability is your gift, but your essence is the person who loves. What a privilege you have to appear internationally to show the world what it’s really all about, and you have done that so beautifully.
Your humility (and by that I mean your acceptance of exactly who you are, the highs and the lows), your integrity, your joy, your respect for others, and your kindness really shine. There, right there, is your greatness. That’s what I would tell anyone who insists on defining you by the few seconds you lacked in a specific moment in time.
But I know you’re not about greatness. You want to follow your dream. These next few years can be life changing and renewing for you, and your story a major inspiration for all. If you come back in 2020, you’ll have a powerful story to tell. If you skip 2020 and reappear even later, as some of your “older” athletes did (my silver strands compel me to write “older”), that will be an equally compelling story.
If you go in another direction and choose to tap something different in yourself, that will be yet another powerful story. There are no wrong answers when you operate from your Truth.
I look forward to seeing you on the other side of this major life challenge, dear Olympian, as you make decisions about your future that are authentic for you. In the meantime, I hold you in my heart.
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Tell us about your favorite moment from the 2016 Olympics. What would you like to say to your favorite Olympian? Leave your answer in the comments below!