To start her final push to the Rio Olympics, Gabby Douglas - the defending Olympic gymnastics champion in the all-around will pack her bags and head to the woods.
While it's not the same kind of woods that Thoreau headed to for 2 years, 2 month and 2 days in 1845 in order to see what could be learned by living deliberately and simply off the land; the intention is the same.
Gabby will spend 9 days at the training camp at Bela Karolyi's ranch in the middle of the woods with no reporters, no agents, no sponsors, and no family. As the story in The New York Times reports, "This is exactly what Douglas needs: a quiet and focused chance to rediscover the original Gabby Douglas, and what got her to the top in the first place."
It doesn't matter if you're a top athlete or a mama entrepreneur with really big dreams; greatness comes as a result of finding and feeling worthy of being your true self.
So whatever it is you feel you were meant to do, whatever moves you might need to make in your every day life in order to help yourself succeed, do them without delay.
I have found that the more we pay attention to others, the more we judge and compare, the more we seek validation from external things, the more likely we are to find ourselves not feeling so great.
It takes great courage to be still and silent, to be willing to excuse yourself from the busyness of your everyday life in order to make sure what you're doing is actually aligned with who you've always wanted to be and with only those things that hold real meaning.
Quiet and focused are a key part of this story. When top performers get serious about accomplishing something great, they seem to get silent and go off the grid for a bit, somehow knowing that it's by going inward that they give themselves a chance to harness their power to another degree.
Thoreau wrote about going to the woods to live simply, deliberately and with great purpose back in 1845, but his principles remain invaluable to us today.
A life of great meaning and richness is never achieved by trying to keep up with what everyone else is doing but by giving yourself a radical kind of permission to be deliberate in your own defining.
We tune in, we stay connected, we say yes, for fear of missing out, but I think it's this fear of missing out (on what's happening around us) that leaves us missing out on our own great life in a much bigger, more tragic kind-of way.
Every time you find yourself distracted by what's happening around you, ask yourself the following, "With this way of living, am I really giving myself a chance to discover and honor the original me?"
You may not be able to pick up and move to the woods for 2 years or even 9 days, but I bet there's a bunch of ways you can help yourself, starting right now, go inward, get silent and retreat enough to re-discover who you really care about being.
The question becomes: Do you care enough about yourself and the quality of the rest of your life to be willing to champion yourself?
PS: Greatness can never happen if you're holding onto a story of why you don't deserve to feel that great.
Take inventory of your thoughts and your actions this week. Do they tell a story of a person who feels truly deserving of feeling great?
Please don't hesitate to reach out to me for additional guidance. You never get a chance to go back, but you have a huge opportunity right now to move forward in a whole new way.