KEYSTONE HEIGHTS, Fla., April 2, 2012 — “Hit it!” These two little words entered my vocabulary in July of 1974, when as a four year old child, I found myself floating in the waters of the Pamlico River in Bath, North Carolina, with water skis on my feet and a rope in my hands. I had just experienced being pulled up and down the shoreline in the shallow water, now it was time for me to make the decision to follow the boat out into the deep.
To go, or not to go, that was the question.
To a four year old child, the choice seemed simple … either remain floating in the water or give the boat the command to “Hit it!” and zip across it! So, with every bit of gusto I had in my little lungs, I gave the command to the boat driver and off I went, out of the water and off on an adventure that would eventually take me all over the world and open doors that I could have never imagined.
As I look back over my career, I can say without a doubt that my decision to say “Hit it!” over and over again is one of the key factors in the level of victory I experienced on the water. It was the difference between one whirl around the river and standing on the top of the podium as a world champion!
In 1974, saying “Hit it!” really wasn’t that difficult. I had perfect conditions, a body full of vigor and strength, a family lining the banks to cheer me on, and little expectations on my performance. But through the years, saying those two little words became a bit harder to say. The conditions weren’t always perfect; the people standing beside me on the dock weren’t always wishing me well; and my body was often screaming in pain.
“Hit it!” wasn’t always about going out and having a good time. Nor was it always void of fear, doubt, and expectations. Sometimes I just didn’t feel like skiing, emotionally or physically. Sometimes I simply wanted to do something else. Sometimes I grew tired of wrestling powerful emotions that stole every bit of joy out of the experience. Sometimes I just wanted to yell “I quit it!” rather than “Hit it!”
But I didn’t. Why? It’s simple. I wanted victory and I knew victory would only come if I was willing to lay aside my feelings, emotions, and expectations and say “Hit it!” time and time again.
I’ve learned this same concept holds true in every aspect of life. Victory only comes when we are willing to “get off the dock”, that place of comfort, and say “Hit it!” despite our feelings, our pain, and our circumstances. Making the decision to give that command won’t always be easy. I don’t care who you are or what you do, every day will present it’s own set of challenges, challenges that can overwhelm us with emotions making it difficult to even imagine ourselves taking the first step out onto the “water”. Sometimes we may even be tempted to say “I quit it!” in life.
But just as in skiing, if we can come to a place where we are willing to say “Hit it!” above all the emotions that flood our minds and above all the physical pain that may ravage our body, victory will come. No, it won’t always come easily or quickly. It may even bring a little bit of pain with it. But just like in my skiing career, as we persevere and refuse to give up, as we continue to say “Hit it!” over and over again, victory will come.
And boy is the journey worth it!
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