I love the Olympics

Tis’ Olympics season once again and if a summer season filled with barbecues and long days lounging in the sun ever had stiff competition, the Olympics would surely be it. To me, Olympic season always means an overflowing TiVo crammed with events, an undeniable amazement for the amount of fireworks, money and advertising endorsements that goes into production, and yes, I’ll admit, a pang of jealousy of all the amazing athletes. Yet despite all the media glitz and social glamour of the Opening Ceremony, the sheer volume of tweets about David Beckham speedboating the Olympic flame into the stadium, and the USA swim team’s much loved viral rendition of ‘Call Me Maybe,’ the Olympics is still very much centered in the soul of passion for sports.

In a post-race or event interview, you never hear Olympians say, “I’m so glad I made it here by myself,” or “I’d like to thank myself for all the support I’ve given myself,” because they choose that time to thank the people who have been there for them every step of the way. There’s a reason the camera zooms into the audience to focus on athlete’s families and friends, because they are a huge reason that they can call themselves Olympic medalists. The emotion and pride on the faces of the supporters is just as powerful as the faces of the athletes themselves. We may not all be Olympic gold medalists, but we truly cannot make it to the finish line of anything without a powerful support team to encourage us every step of the way.

With any new endeavor, it’s vital to identify the people in your life who will be there for you no matter what obstacles you may encounter along the way. You’ll need someone to catch you when you fall, someone to face the world for you when you just can’t bear to get up out of bed, and someone’s arms to leap into when you’ve achieved what you once thought was impossible. Without these people in our lives, the ending will be bittersweet, because who wants to celebrate alone? The going may be rough, but no one becomes a gold medalist overnight, not even amazingly gifted athletes. In a world of buff professionals, the scrawny underdog often comes up on top, followed by a loyal pack of supportive friends and family. 17-year-old gold medalist Missy Franklin explained to the media that she didn’t move to a big swimming state to train, like many professionals encouraged her to do, because she would not have been happy being away from her friends and family. She believes being happy and around loved ones has helped her be successful. If she’s not a success story, I’m not sure what is.

So as you sit down to watch your next favorite Olympic event with your loyal life supporters, take a moment to thank them for being your own personal cheerleaders. In turn, make sure you’re being the best supporter you can be, because you never know when someone may need a little encouragement to strike gold.

10 Tips for Giving, Receiving and Appreciating Support

♥ Listen with your heart first, then your head.

♥ Ask good questions (what and how, not why) and follow up with more questions for clarification or offer suggestions if appropriate.

♥ Organize a lunch date with a friend and suggest that you both bring new material to show each other your progress or talk about what’s important in your lives.

♥ If it helps, make a list of what endeavors your friends have embarked on, and follow up with them on a regular basis.

♥ If you need help, be courageous and ask for it. Most people are happy to help if they know you need it.

♥ Take the time to thank everyone who has supported you, no matter how small the gesture may have been.

♥ Take time to connect with those who need you.

♥ Stay in the present moment when you are with someone, texting or glancing around gives them the impression that you’re not focused on their big news or moment.

♥ Offer your support in any way possible, even when you think it may not be well-received or appreciated.

♥ Remember that we all go through rough patches. They are an important part of the success process and the moments where we all need support the most.

Eilise Ward