The Power of Balance in Pursuit of Success

The Power of Balance in Pursuit of Success

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Shawn Ray

Inside Shawn's World

"Every so often, a child will say something that, at the time, might sound crazy but in hindsight is more like prophecy!"

The age-old adage, “If you can dream it, you can be it,” is not something a high-level athlete dismisses from the realm of their reality. The majority of high-functioning athletes recall visions like these, coming from a place of fantasy or otherworldly visions and dreams of their future successes and triumphs, years or even decades before they’ve actually accomplished anything in their professional lives.

Comments like, “You’re too small,” “You’re too short,” “You’re too slow,” etc., pepper their crystal-clear visions of winning events on the big stage long before they’ve accomplished their first victory. Yet, all champions visualize victories long before winning the smallest of events! 

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The one thing we know about winners is that they constantly fight through the pressures of self-doubt, obstacles of being a failure, and comments from others being told they simply would not be good enough on their rise to the top of their chosen fields.

Finding Success Amidst Life's Balancing Act

Yet somehow, champions find a way through failure, suffering, compromise, and resilience to get to the winner’s circle and try to work harder to stay there, all the while doing the delicate dance of balancing life, family, and work, which combined increases the stress levels to unparalleled expectations. Many simply fail to become successful in all categories because of the neglect of one area or another.

That being said, it begs the question: What’s the pathway to success, knowing you may be a failure in other areas of life?

Staying True to Roots Amidst a World of Fame

In my 40 years of training, competing, promoting, and supporting bodybuilding on a global scale, I’ve consistently found security in my lifelong friendships with my childhood pals from my neighborhood and schools. 

Growing up in Southern California, having the Mecca of Bodybuilding, Gold’s Gym, Pro Sports, and the Entertainment Capital of the world, Hollywood, all within an hour’s drive from home, left little to the imagination. 

I remained “grounded” in relation to my self-awareness and identity with people who knew me before becoming a success.

Navigating Success with Guided Wisdom and Selective Association

I relied heavily on my parents’ opinions of what was right or wrong for me in the way of business decisions. I stayed close to like-minded individuals on my way up that shared common dreams, goals, and visions with mine.

Lastly, I was acutely aware of the pitfalls, influencers, and dangers that would potentially sideline or derail my dreams by my presence in places that were not conducive to where I was trying to go. I found that having interests outside the gym and competition gave me a break from the pressures of what I was trying to accomplish.

The Role of Diverse Interests in an Athlete's Life

The amount of time and focus dedicated to becoming a world-class athlete can burn out the mind and body if there are no external interests that can help relax the intensity we put into chasing our dreams.

So, I’m a big fan of classical music, movie-going, theater, and being a sports enthusiast. 

These activities take my mind off the daily grind of trying to compete at the highest level, plus I can share in these activities with friends who are not interested in my career choice.

These activities give us something to talk about, relate to, and participate in as fans where there’s no rivalry or competition between us. 

When my kids were born, their activities became a major focus of my interest, meaning my self-interests would not be as important, which meant I had to learn the delicate art of sharing and caring.

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Once again, external forces would help me focus on time management and cherish personal time with family and friends, highlighting the importance of having more than simply one singular interest.

Balancing High Performance with Life's Joys

In conclusion, every success story has the common thread of “balance” they share. Balance is important so that the athlete recognizes the need to rest and recover, relax and reflect, regroup and conquer! 

Life comes at us hard and fast at times, but should you have the ability to engage yourself with friends, relax with activities, and share moments with family, you will gain the ability to not only manage high-stress periods in competition but also thrive in relaxed situations and develop social skills you didn’t know you had that will help set you up for the Game of Life.

Shawn Ray