by Annette Bridges. ©2008. All rights reserved.

Looking for a gold medal day? Or perhaps you’re looking for that gold medal year when everything turns out perfect? Or that gold medal job that you’ve always dreamed of? Or that gold medal grade that keeps your GPA high? For me, a day feels golden when I’ve accomplished my best and have completed everything I need to!The Olympics this year have been filled with examples of athletes achieving success beyond expectation. Many of the athletes have surpassed age limitations, overcome physical disabilities and surmounted injuries to reach their dream.

As I strive to master various goals, I’ve been inspired to believe that I can accomplish my own gold medal, if I have enough “ganas” like the Olympian medalists — or for that matter like all Olympic athletes. I was first introduced to the idea of “ganas” in the 1988 movie, “Stand and Deliver,” starring Edward James Olmos.

The movie is based on a true story about math teacher, Jaime Escalante, who inspired drop-out prone high school students with poor academic history to learn calculus and pass the AP Calculus exam in their senior year.

He told his students that if they had the “ganas” or “desire to succeed” they could accomplish whatever they strived for. In helping them accomplish their goal — against all odds and in spite of predictions of failure by many around them — he taught them a life lesson they would remember the rest of their lives — to let nothing stop or hinder them from going for their dreams.

We should not be fooled into believing that gold medal accomplishments are won by a long shot. So many times gold medalists just barely pull out the win by the slimmest of margins. These examples have taught me to give my all and give my best, and since it’s not over till it’s over — I should never give up.

But how do I succeed, or even begin to go for the gold, when I’m filled with self-doubt and a lack of confidence?

We’ve probably all had times in our lives when we’ve questioned our worthiness and deservedness — being our own worst critic. Self-doubt can actually become a bad habit that destroys confidence and causes procrastination or lack of effort. The bottom line is no benefit will ever come from doubting yourself and questioning yourself to the point of not pursuing your dreams. You can’t succeed or fail if you never even try.

And gold medalists would remind us how many times they “failed” before they won the gold medals they now wear around their necks. Fear of failure is no reason not to go for the gold.

I’ve found it wise to remember that our past does not dictate our future. I’ve also found we do well to remember that every failure or mistake teaches a lesson. So, if we learn our lessons well, we’ll do well in the future. Or at least I know if I’ve learned a lesson well enough, I don’t repeat the same mistake!

God has created each of us with unique talents, abilities and potential. These are very good reasons to appreciate who we are — our talents and every experience we’ve had. We each have a unique purpose to fulfill. And we have the God-given ability to live our purpose to its fullest possibility.

So believe in yourselves, my friends. Your purpose is uniquely yours, and no one else can fulfill it for you or take it away from you. Stay on your course. Be patient. Pursue, persevere and expect success. You can’t help but be whatever God has created you to be. And with God, truly all things are possible for each one of us. A gold medal is within your grasp!