You are the crown jewel

Two years ago I set out on a quest to qualify and compete at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, throwing Discus for team Canada alongside the world's very best.
Tyrell Mara - Canadian National Track and Field Championships - Discus Throw
Tyrell Mara - Canadian National Track and Field Championships - Discus Throw

The reaction when I share this goal with others is typically the same - awe, excitement, inspiration. I am offered words of encouragement as I go and chase "the biggest dream of my life".

And it’s at that point where I bite my tongue, unsure whether to correct their comment or smile and appreciate the support.

Because for me, the Olympics is not the biggest goal of my life.

It will not be defined as a pinnacle of my life's work.

Nor a crown jewel to be marvelled over.

In it’s truest form the pursuit of the Olympics represents a vehicle.

A vehicle within which I can architect the very best version of myself day after day, for several years in a row.

My secret purpose in chasing big hairy audacious goals is to insert a catalyst into the framework of my life - accelerating my fundamental learning and growth as a human being.

But as I zoom out and view the rest of my life with this lens I realize that this concept of vehicles and catalysts doesn't just apply to athletics. I have subconsciously architected this into each major pillar of my life.

Every day I show up in the corporate world as a leader and operator. My greatest passion is sitting in a boardroom with our teams and facilitating tough conversations in service of solving challenging problems.

A successful exit, IPO, or leadership position responsible for 10s or 100s is not the crown jewel I seek. Career is my vehicle to accelerate the pursuit of growth and learning in leadership and super performing team. A subject I will pursue throughout my entire life.

The final pillar is at home. I've realized only recently that it seems I intentionally block out a lot of the emotional and relational dynamics that make up the two previous vehicles (Olympics and Career). And so it is through the time I spend building my family that I learn at an accelerated rate about my ability to feel, emphasize, love, hurt and enjoy life to the fullest with others.

Why does this matter?

This shift in mindset changes everything. When we look at ourselves as the crown jewel we are constantly refining, every challenge we take on in life becomes in service of that larger purpose. We are able to clearly see the truth for what it is - that the real magic lives in the journey, not in the accomplishment itself.

So the question becomes, are you living your life in pursuit of accomplishments to hang as crown jewels on your mantel? Or does each of those pursuits contribute to the most important crown jewel of all, You. The crown jewel that will be refined over years and decades of experiences and pursuits...

Some of which just might happen to be remarkable accomplishments.