Elizabeth Swaney pulled off something I expect many of us have imagined attempting (or maybe I'm the only crazy one). She made it into this years Olympic Games despite being totally unqualified.
Swaney, a 33-year-old American exploited a loophole to compete for Hungary in the Halfpipe skiing event. While her performance was, well, exactly what you might expect from an average skier, her ability to get into such a highly competitive event is pretty impressive.
Sure, there’s plenty to be said about whether what she did was right or honest. Maybe it’s insulting to the other athletes. I wouldn't know. But I, for one, admire her cleverness and tenacity.
They don’t just let people walk in you know. Considering the qualifiers and all the various events one must attend as a competing Olympian, Elizabeth gave more than a passing commitment to endeavor—she was all in.
As creatives, we can start out feeling like we don’t belong in the games—in other words—completely unqualified. We begin to wonder, what are we doing here anyway. Everyone (even, and maybe especially, the people who have been at it a while) feels like a fake sometimes. But, you know what, if you never try, you don’t know what you’ll accomplish.
As the baseball-themed motivational saying goes,
You can't steal second with your foot on first
OK, so you also can't get caught trying to steal bases with your foot on first. Even so, you won't go far (in sports or creativity) without taking a few risks.
I’ll admit, Swaney didn’t put in the years of hard training deserving the sport. This isn’t even her first escapade (she apparently ran against Schwarzenegger for governor of California). Still, you have to hand it to her, she’s got spirit.
If we had half the boldness to just step out there and show the world what we’re made of, well, the world would be a much more inspiring place. And hey, we might even catch the attention of a judge or two before they haul us off the snowy course.