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Can your goals be holding you back? Three-time Olympian Michael Janyk tells us how


Michael Janyk is a retired Canadian alpine skier, who appeared for the Canadian team at the Winter Olympics in 2006 (17th), 2010 (13th) and 2014 (16th). He also won the bronze medal in Slalom at the 2009 Alpine Skiing World Championship in Val d'Isère. Alongside his former teammate, Janyk now runs the Mike and Manny Foundation, which organises ski camps for children.

Many years ago I wrote down my first goal, “win a World Cup ski race”. 22 years later, I never achieved it. This would come in and out of my head and on and off my goal sheet throughout my career. It was only after retiring from competition I could see how it clouded my original dream; To race on the World Cup circuit and compete in the Olympics for Canada.

The dream proceeded the goal and was at the heart of my motivation. It filled me with a deeper sense of purpose and carried me through the challenges faced while in its pursuit. Though when a coach or sports phycologist would ask me to write down my goals, I splintered and wrote ones I thought they wanted to see; All result based. Initially these were powerful sources of motivation but if my trajectory veered off in the slightest, this energy faded quickly. Other years when the system and staff around me allowed for wider variances in goal setting or did not require them at all, I would write them on my own, only these were focused on the athlete I wanted to be and the enthusiasm I wanted to ski with. I felt a connection between these goals and the feeling of my dream. I felt an ok-ness with being off course and a focused and consistent effort would emerge.

On the eve of my last World Cup season, I was consumed with the goal of winning. The year started with none of the results I wanted and I frantically scrambled to find any footing that would help me reach this peak. Eventually, probably out of sheer fatigue, I surrendered to the possibility of failure. In this moment, I realized I was already living my dream and had been for the last eight years. I let go. My focus shifted back to my skiing and I finished the season, my last World Cup, with the most enjoyable run of my life.

Who knows how it all works out. Goals help you direct your energy and fuel your actions. Come to know their source and your motivations for achieving them. Then there is great opportunity to express what is real and you may discover enjoyment and satisfaction comes well before the final result.

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