Dig Deep Like Peggy Fleming

Peggy Fleming for Radiation Cream and Healing EczemaWhen she was just 10 years old, Peggy Fleming discovered something that she credits with helping to send her to the Olympics. She was sent off to the Pacific Coast Championship for figure skating in Los Angeles with the adoration and support from her friends and community. Once there, she wholly expected to take home the trophy.

When it was her turn to skate, she floated around the ice, thoroughly and easily enjoying herself. Soon, the results came in and Peggy was shocked to discover she had finished in last place. On the ride home, she dug deep and realized that the truth was that she hadn’t skated her best. She had lost track of the reason she was at the competition in the first place.

In an article she wrote for Guideposts, Peggy shares what she learned:

I knew that only one person had beaten me that day—myself…

I’ve heard that we humans use only about one one-hundredth of our potential brain power…What a tremendous reservoir of power awaits us, if we’d just tap into it!

Yet I know how difficult this can be. When I trained for the Olympics, I’d grind out the same 69 figures over and over, eight hours a day, six days a week. A skater must do five figures for the Olympics, but you aren’t told until the last minute which figures these will be. So you must have all 69 down pat.

Often in the middle of practicing a figure, the other Peggy Fleming would whisper, “Good enough—why strain yourself?” And then I’d remember my lesson at Los Angeles.

We all face the same personal barrier in our everyday lives—call it inertia, boredom or just plain coasting. If we don’t throw our hearts past it, we’ll never reach our full potential.

Each one of us has the potential to be great, to do great things. And when we discover something that’s really important to us, then the extra effort that’s required of us is one of the most worthwhile investments we can make.


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