Adam Van Koeverden is a Canadian kayaker. At 34, this 2016 Olympics is his fourth Olympics; a feat incredible on its own. He has a storied Olympic career. In 2004 he won a gold and bronze medal and was the flag bearer at the closing ceremony. Then in Beijing in 2008 he was named opening ceremonies flag bearer and went on to win silver. At that time, when many Canadians had expected him to win gold he said, “You shoot for the stars, sometimes you only make it to the moon.”
In 2012 in London, after being a gold medal hopeful, he earned a silver medal, and he expressed his gratitude for being able to stand on the podium. Then in 2016, this year in Rio, he placed 6th in the semi final, sending him to the B final where his time was so good that it would have earned him a silver medal in the actual final, had he been in it.
Just as I have loved being a witness, along with all Canadians, to his incredible career, I think I love, even more, his ability to maintain a healthy perspective about it. I absolutely loved his response this year when after his race a reporter asked how he felt about his result. Adam’s reply was,
“Sometimes the best chapter of a book isn’t the last chapter. I’m proud of my career and grateful for the support. Never prouder to be Canadian.”
What an incredibly insightful comment. And of course, it got me thinking.
So often in life, we are waiting for the best chapter. We have an idea that while what we are doing might be good, there will be something much better waiting for us at a later point in our life. It might be that our job is great, but when we just get to that next level, we will really enjoy it. Or it might be that we enjoy the stage our children are at but we will really enjoy them when they are old enough to.... Or it might be that we are excited to go on a road trip but that we will be even happier when we head off to Europe in five years. We do this so often; missing the moment while looking ahead. It is as if we are waiting for later for our best chapter.
When I heard Adam Van Koeverden talk about his life as chapters in a book, it struck me that we never know which chapter will end up being our favourite. We never know which will end up being our best. What a shame that some of us will not even know when we have had our best chapter, because we forget to notice it. I don’t know Adam Van Koeverden. However, it seems to me that he deserves a gold medal in the category of ‘appreciating life in the moment and making the most of each chapter’. Of course I would also give him a gold medal in the categories of ‘humble Canadian’ and ‘most incredible sportsmanship’ too!
This summer has been filled to the brim with excitement in our house. Yesterday was Greg and Cara’s wedding. It was so incredibly wonderful, as were all of the activities leading up to it. One thing they planned for us to do, along with their out of town guests was a mountain hike. Two of their friends, Rob and Mary, flew into Calgary early on the morning of the hike, after getting up at what would have been about 3:00am Calgary time. They knew that they would not make it to the trail head in time for our 10:30 start. However, they chose to drive out, start up the trail and meet us at the top for lunch. They had their 9 month old son in tow. If this is not incredible enough, they arrived with such a positive energy that it inspired most of the group to continue on to the final summit before we all made the descent home. They then joined everyone for a barbeque and continued to bring their inspiring, positive, gratitude filled selves with them. When they left late that evening, seemingly unaffected by the 15km hike and lack of sleep they thanked everyone for ‘their most amazing day’. Rob and Mary seem to have mastered the art of making the most of each chapter of their lives. They, like the rest of us have absolutely no idea which chapter will be best. However, I suspect that they will have plenty of great ones to choose from.
Adam Van Koeverden’s comment about chapters came at the perfect time for me. It caused me to ask myself, ‘What if this is my best chapter? What am I doing to fully notice it, be in the moment with it and maximize it?’
My inquiry for you this week is to ask yourself, “What if this is my best chapter?”
Don’t wait for a great moment to make change; take this moment and make great change.
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