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Script Your Own Story

| October 4, 2013 | 0 Comments

As a three-event water skier our daughter’s goal was to be a competitive threat in the slalom event, the trick skiing event, and in jumping.  Her progress in the first two was steady and promising, but the jumping event was difficult for her and she struggled to feel comfortable with the speed and the crashes that came with it.  Similar to the “all-around” in gymnastics, all three events was a requirement for competing for the overall title in skiing.  Jumping seemed to discourage her emotionally and injure her physically.

One spring day after a frustrating practice session she sat on the dock displaying a look of defeat.  “Dad,” she said, “I think I should just give up on jumping.” “I should just quit and focus on the other two events. I can’t do this.”  I hated to see her so discouraged, but was also convinced that it was too soon to give up in spite of the current reality.  It was true; she wasn’t making much progress at the moment.  She was having difficulty seeing herself as an accomplished jumper. I knew my next few words could be pivotal and I wanted to choose them carefully.

water skierOne voice in my head told me to talk her out of quitting, and the other voice said to ignore it altogether.  Fortunately I thought of a third option.  Here’s what came out: “Well the choice is up to you, and retiring your jumpers is certainly one of your options.  But let’s think of it as a movie script that has two possible endings.  One version of the story has the star struggling until she finally decides to end the battle by walking away and living with the consequences.  The other script has the star struggling and discouraged, but yet determined to overcome the obstacles.  She starts watching videos of great jumpers, hanging around with and talking to more advanced skiers, and hooking up with a coach for some additional tips.  She makes a breakthrough and in the end has a great ‘overcoming’ story to tell others.”

I told her that either story would be okay with me, but I wanted her to know she would be the writer of the script and the producer of her story.  She would direct and promote the storyline and would get to witness the ending of this story according to her choices.  It was within her power to choose her script.  Our daughter spent some time thinking about the scenarios and chose to continue the struggle.  Four months later she won her first jumping title at the National Championships. While every struggle does not end with a title, every story can end with progress toward a desired goal.  

Each of us can choose the script for our story and behave accordingly.  I learned this lesson from my friend Dr. Rob Gilbert, a sport psychologist from Bloomfield, NJ.  One of his most famous quotes was, “Act the way you want to become until you become the way you act.”

- David Benzel


David Benzel is the Founder of “Growing Champions for Life” and the author of three books and a coaching manual. He can be contacted at

David submitted this story to us as part of the Lessons From Sports ebook contribution.  You too could be a possible contributor to Lessons From Sports. To share your story, receive our Lessons From Sports tip of the week and plus download our FREE Gift -click here for more details.


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Category: Motivation

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