Welcome to a sample chapter of Guidebook to Gold – enjoy!
Yes, You Can!
“It’s nice to meet you in person Dr. Gogetter,” Julia said as she walked in to his office and sat down across from him. “Thank you for fitting me in to your schedule.”
“It’s no problem at all Julia. From what you told me on the phone, you were very excited to have this discussion. How can I help you?” Dr. Gogetter asked.
“I’d like for you to tell me if I’m out of my mind to even have the goals I have. For starters, I’m late to the game. I didn’t begin competing at a young age like everyone else. Although I’m athletic, I’m not sure I have what it takes to make it really big in this sport.”
“Julia, did you happen to watch that video I emailed you of the endurance athletes Rick and Dick Hoyt?”
“Yes! I was in awe at the both of them. I didn’t know I was going to need a tissue to wipe away my happy tears.” Julia said.
“I know, it’s a great video and their story is a favorite of mine,”Dr. Gogetter agreed. “But there’s some additional information I’d like to share with you about Team Hoyt. You’d be amazed to learn how many mountains this father-and-son team has moved. Maybe that’s why they titled their first book It’s Only a Mountain.”
In 1962 Rick was born with Cerebral Palsy and was diagnosed as a non-verbal spastic quadriplegic. Dick and his wife, Judy, went against the doctor’s recommendation to institutionalize Rick. Instead, they began a journey to discover ways to help Rick become a part of the community and all it had to offer (mountain #1).
Once Dick and Judy could demonstrate Rick’s intellect by teaching him the alphabet and basic words, they searched for a way to help him communicate. In 1972, scientists at Tufts University built an interactive computer for Rick. With a slight head tap against his wheelchair, Rick could spell words on the computer and let everyone know what he was thinking. His first words were: “Go, Bruins” (mountain #2).
After years of fighting to integrate Rick into public school, Dick and Judy Hoyt finally received the answer they had been waiting for: Rick could attend public school at the age of 13. In 1993, at the age of 31, he graduated from Boston University with a degree in Special Education (mountain #3).
When Rick was in high school, he asked his father if he could participate in a five-mile benefit run for a lacrosse player who had become paralyzed in an accident. Dick, with limited running ability, pushed Rick in his wheelchair and finished the run second to last. Rick communicated to his dad that running made him feel like he wasn’t handicapped (mountain #4).
From that day forward, Dick and Rick were Team Hoyt. Rick would sit in a wheelchair with three wheels (similar to a jogging stroller) while Dick pushed. In time, running was joined by biking and swimming. For biking, Rick would sit in a chair above the front wheel. For swimming, Rick would lie in a raft that was attached to Dick’s waist with a bungee cord. They competed in marathons, duathlons, and triathlons (including Ironman competitions). In 1992 they biked and ran across the U.S., completing 3,735 miles in 45 days.
As of April 2013, they had completed 1,077 endurance events. ESPN honored Team Hoyt with the Jimmy V Perseverance Award on July 17, 2013.
Today Rick (in his fifties) and Dick (in his seventies) are still moving mountains – they don’t see an end in sight yet. They have taught us all many lessons, the most important one being “Yes, You Can”.
Dr. Gogetter redirected the consulting session back to Julia’s specific situation and said, “Achieving excellence in sport and life, begins with the answers to two questions:
(1) What do you want?
(2) Why do you want it?
Setting a dream goal, like you have Julia, with a clear of understanding of why you want it so badly, gets your mind and body ready to explode out of the starting blocks. The answers to these two questions will allow you to keep the pace with a focused strategy. They also provide you with the energy and intensity you need to cross the finish line victorious.
When Rick and Dick decided to enter that first five-mile race, they had a specific goal – to compete as a team. Their reason for having this goal was to demonstrate to the paralyzed lacrosse player that life can go on. In an interview Dick said, “I’m just loaning him [Rick] my arms and my legs so that he is able to compete.” Although Rick’s initial intent was to help a fellow student, and Dick’s was to help his son, that experience became the beginning of an even bigger pursuit. For more than thirty years, they have been moving mountains, not only as a way to provide Rick with a sense of normalcy, but also to pave the way for the rest of the world and encourage us all to dream big and persevere.
Julia, you’ve shared with me what you want in sport. Are you as clear as to why you want it?”
“Yes, but my reasons are nowhere near as selfless and inspiring as Team Hoyt’s reasons for being athletes.” Julia said a little embarrassed.
“Julia, there is no right or wrong answer to this question,” Dr. Gogetter chimed in. “Your reasons for wanting to compete in sports is no less and no greater than anyone else’ reasons. Take a minute and think about other athletes’ goals and reasons for setting them. It may be the football player on television who just ran out onto the NFL field for his first time. His reasons for wanting this dream so badly could be to financially support his family. It may be your neighbor who is training for her first marathon in order to develop the confidence that comes with crossing the finish line. It may be the boy on the soccer field who runs up and down the field in hopes of becoming an amazing player just like his older brother. It may be the female freestyle skier who wants to qualify for her country’s Olympic team so that she can make history by competing in her sport’s Olympic debut.
There is no judgment here – the only important thing is that your reason is strong enough to stand a chance at overcoming potential challenges you may experience along the path to achieving your dream goal.”
“Well, in that case,” Julia said, “I want to strive to achieve my goals because I love my sport, I already love the strength and confidence I’ve gained by being part of it, and I want to test my limits and see how far I can push myself and, in the words of Team Hoyt, discover what mountains I can move.”
“Sounds like a wonderful reason to pursue your personal highest level of performance Julia,” Dr. Gogetter said with enthusiasm. “It doesn’t matter how impossible others think your dream may be; what does matter is how possible it seems to you.
Arnold Palmer, one of the greatest golfers of all time, used this poem by Walter D. Wintle to inspire ad provide him courage to get out on the golf course and give it his best shot.”
With Julia’s full attention, Dr. Gogetter read to her the poem:
THE MAN WHO THINKS HE CAN
If you think you are beaten, you are,
If you think that you dare not, you don’t,
If you’d like to win, but you think you can’t,
It’s almost certain you won’t.
If you think you’ll lose, you’ve lost,
For out in the world you’ll find,
Success begins with a fellow’s will,
It’s all in the state of mind.
If you think you are outclassed, you are,
You’ve got to think high to rise,
You’ve got to be sure of yourself before
You can ever win a prize.
Life’s battles don’t always go
To the stronger or faster man,
But soon or late the man who wins
Is the man who thinks he can!
“Can you email me that poem Dr. Gogetter?” Julia asked. “I’d like to paste it on the last page of my journal so I can read it any time I want.”
“Yes I can,” Dr. Gogetter said as he grabbed a pen and paper and made a note to email the poem to Julia after their consulting session.
Dr. Gogetter then continued with their session. “It’s important that you understand that it’s not always about knowing every single step along the way. It doesn’t even mean you have to have all the skills right now to make your dream goal come true. Julia, let me ask you, do you believe in your ability to learn what needs to be learned to be successful in your sport, regardless of how late you think you are to the game?”
“Yes, I do. In fact, I’ve been told that I’m coachable and I know that I pay really good attention to all the advice I get from others.” Julia answered.
“Do you believe you can do what needs to be done to earn everything you desire?” Dr. Gogetter asked.
“I know that I’ll give it everything I’ve got to make it as far as I can in this sport.”
“Do you accept that there will be challenges along the way?” Dr. Gogetter asked.
“Yes.” Julia answered.
“Good. Even with these challenges, when you step up to the plate armed with your aspirations, your reasons for wanting to pursue them, and the confidence to succeed, you can power through and do your very best to overcome anything that stands in your way.
Now here’s the last mental toughness tool I want to leave with you. I’m going to ask that you use this tool each and every day. Keep a small notepad beside your bed. Each night answer these two questions:
(1) What did I achieve today?
(2) What can I do tomorrow to be better than I was today?
Although your dream goals and your reasons for having them will keep you motivated to push onward, it’s your day-to-day actions, achievements, and short-term goals that will get you the results you want so badly.”
“I can do that, no problem Dr. Gogetter,” responded Julia.
“Please make sure your daily achievements reflect something you took action towards. Also, when you set your short-term goals, make sure they are within your control, meaning the only person responsible for accomplishing the goal is you.” Dr. Gogetter explained.
“I got it!” Julia said.
“And remember Julia, Walt Disney said, “if you can dream it, you can do it. Always remember that this whole thing started with a dream and a mouse.” Just like Walt Disney, Julia, you don’t need to have all of the answers. Start with your dream and your reason for wanting it to come true. Soon, with your short-term goals in place, all the steps will fall into place and, before you know it, you will be standing on top of the podium.