Last weekend, 41-year-old mother Dara Torres earned a spot in the upcoming Olympics. Torres is 26 years older than Elizabeth Beisel, the youngest Olympian on this year’s team. But Torres isn’t just looking for a middle-aged adventure. “I can't lie and say, ‘Oh, I'm just glad I'm going.’ I want a medal,” Torres said after her win.
Good for her! Her attitude is inspiring – especially to those of us who aren’t kids anymore. Too often – especially when we are past age thirty-five – we’re expected to be think of ourselves as not as good as when we were younger. We aren’t encouraged to toot our own horn, and are even expected take a back seat to our kids or someone else. When we don’t, we are often belittled. It usually doesn’t happen openly, but instead it’s usually in subtle but palpable ways. We saw many examples of it during the Democratic nominations.
But Torres isn’t letting her age or anything else get in her way. If you watch her carefully, you’ll notice that she is modeling the steps every woman can use to create their own victories. Here are three that she’s demonstrated:
1. Know What You Want
Dara Torres still had the passion to swim and compete. That’s how this current Olympic run started. It was the stuff of her dreams. Now it’s her reality.
Start with what you want and then make a plan to get it.
2. Work with Your Obstacles
Torres, acknowledged that her age could get in the way. Facing it made her understand that she knew she would have to work on speed and flexibility. It gave her an edge when competing against women considerably younger.
When you make a plan, ask yourself, “what will stand in my way.” Face the problems head on, early and quickly. Eliminate or minimize as many as you can. Challenges can be about money or time, and just as often, they are about believing in yourself.
3. Take action.
Do something every day to take you closer to your goal. Whether it’s making a phone call, or writing a paragraph for a business plan or a book, or doing something challenging to boost your confidence, DO IT. “If you just think about what you want to do and make a plan, but you don’t act on it, then you’re just wasting time and energy.”
Next month, while you watch Torres go for the gold, get inspired! Just because you aren't a kid anymore doesn’t mean you can’t have dreams and make your dreams come true. Torres is doing it. You can too. That’s the spirit of victory!