Dreams with purpose are realized by people with seemingly impossible goals using focus, discipline, hard work and self-determination. Faced with a variety of challenges, these champions never give up. The pathways toward their goals may be unclear; nonetheless dream achievers persevere. They exhibit resilience and tenacity – rising above failures, temporary setbacks and physical challenges – in order to accomplish their dreams.
Olympic and Paralympic medalists are among the greatest achievers. They are not the only successful individuals to realize their dreams. Many accomplished individuals go unnoticed. They achieve personal success without fanfare or notoriety. Like Olympic champions, they have high aspirations and strong mental fortitude to overcome setbacks and unforeseen challenges along the way.
Dream achievers can be found all around us. They are ordinary people who have achieved extraordinary goals. Think about accomplished individuals whom you most admire. In addition to world-class athletes, these individuals might be charismatic leaders, social entrepreneurs, philanthropists, community volunteers, educators, movie stars, doctors, musicians, and local heroes – all achieving successes in their own ways.
This story is about a personal journey and a discovery process that enabled me to realize my dreams. Through this example, I hope to inspire and encourage others so they too can follow paths of self-discovery toward personal achievement. It is my intention to share stories from time to time about my experiences and those of people I admire. Through these stories, I would like to educate and motivate others to achieve their dreams.
My dream, when I was young, was to participate in the Olympic Games, not as an athlete but in some other capacity. I was a multi-sport athlete not destined for international competition in the traditional sense. Instead, I dreamed of helping others achieve their goals in sports and business. As I acquired experience, I found that I enjoyed working with cross-cultural teams and international travel. I worked with many talented and highly accomplished people, whom I found inspiring and invigorating.
Although the path was unclear, my goal to support the Olympic movement seemed realistic and attainable. Influenced by friends and neighbors who competed nationally and internationally, I looked for ways to become more involved in sports while pursuing my education and a career in sports marketing. I have been involved as an athlete, instructor, volunteer, staff member and advisor. Now I participate for the joy of it.
Sports are a passion for me that almost got me killed. Motorized vehicles have twice hit me during human powered sports activities (road biking and portaging a canoe). Both accidents made me realize how quickly life can change. And how important it is to pursue dreams rather than delay them.
When I first became involved with the Olympic Games, I never imagined my volunteer role with the 1996 US Olympic Sailing Team would lead to a professional career with the Olympic and Paralympic Games spanning more than a decade. I have had the pleasure of working with sports organizations, teams, individuals, venues and corporate marketing partners in many different countries. I have learned about their business practices, customs and cultures. It was an honor to be involved with the games in Atlanta, Sydney, Salt Lake City, Athens, Torino and Beijing.
I am proud to have supported the vision and mission of the Olympic Movement (www.olympic.org/Documents/olympic_charter_en.pdf) and the Paralympic Movement (www.paralympic.org/TheIPC/HWA/Handbook). It’s been a pleasure working with organizations that promote peace, mutual understanding and respect for others.
My passion for the Olympic and Paralympic movements has grown over the years. I value these movements not only for the world-class competition but also for the impact these events have had on the venue communities, the environment, education and the arts.
The Olympic and Paralympic Games have brought people together from around the world. The games transcended geographic and socio-economic barriers, providing an international forum for peaceful celebration. These international sporting events have offered numerous opportunities for individuals and teams to demonstrate achievements and inspire others to realize their dreams. They continue to foster universal values and a spirit of fair play.
Over the years, I began to realize the games were far more than international sports competitions. The venue communities that have hosted Olympic and Paralympic events also staged world-class arts and cultural events. Many benefited from increased tourism and economic development. While some venue communities such as Athens amassed debt, others like Salt Lake City prospered and left legacies that have lived on. Host cities and organizing committees supported educational components that assisted local school children. Commercial partners supporting the games have benefited from their involvement as well. The broadcast coverage and publicity garnered worldwide attention.
Within the Olympic and Paralympic families, I felt a sense of familiarity and shared values. I enjoyed protecting the Olympic and Paralympic trademarks and the rights of our marketing partners. Carrying the flame during the 2002 Olympic Torch Relay was a privilege and a dream come true. Reuniting with colleagues from the Salt Lake Organizing Committee for a ten-year anniversary celebration in February 2012 reignited a flame in my heart, which I will always carry for the Olympic and Paralympic movements.
I encourage you to follow your dreams. Chart a navigable course to pursue your goals no matter how impossible that may seem. Join forces with like-minded people whose values and aspirations create synergy and inspiration. Devote yourself to a worthwhile cause through which a common vision and mission can be achieved. A shared sense of purpose is highly motivating. You don’t have to be an Olympian or Paralympian to realize dreams and make a difference in the lives of others.
© 2012 Anne Wall, All Rights Reserved.