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Sochi_Medals_Sochi2014I love watching the Olympics and celebrate with those whose dreams come true. But for every athlete who stands atop the podium and has a medal draped around their neck, there are countless more whose dreams ended earlier. Some missed out on making the team completely due to injury while others recorded a personal best performance but still ended up without a medal. Then there were the favorites who fell or crashed on their final run, but stayed around to congratulate the new champions.

Inspired by the Winter Olympics, last week some of my family watched Cool Runnings, the movie about the Jamaican bobsled team. The night before their final run down the course, the driver tells his coach that he’s been preparing for this moment his whole life. The coach responds, “If you aren’t enough without a medal, you’ll never be enough with one.” The driver asked, “How will I know if I’m enough?” The answer? “You’ll know when you cross the finish line.

Of course, the Jamaican’s rickety sled starts to fall apart during their super fast run and crashes. The driver inspires his teammates and they carry their sled across the finish line, without a medal but with the respect of the world.

While I am not training for the Olympics, I am pursuing a prize of a different sort. My gold medal would be a multi-book contract from a traditional publisher as well as acquiring an agent. Silver would be the agent or a one-book contract. Bronze, a contract from a small publisher.

But what if I don’t get a medal? What if at the end of years of sweat and tears writing, polishing, and submitting my fiction I walk away from a series of closed doors empty handed? What then? Am I enough? Would my obedience and dedication to craft have developed enough personal character to keep my head held high? Would I be able to congratulate those who did earn their spots?

Am I enough without a medal? I’d like to think so. But that doesn’t mean I can stop trying.

What about you? What medals have you pursued? Have you obtained them, missed out, or are still pursuing? Are you enough without them?

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