Below is the mission statement of the 1996 Australian Women’s Field Hockey Team (Gold Medalists In Atlanta). It is a great outline of some of the qualities and principles it takes to be an elite performer in any field. Athletes that meet the tenets of this statement are on a long-term path to excellence:
We will win in Atlanta by being the best we can be, because Olympic gold is the ultimate challenge in our sport. We will achieve this by playing beyond our previous performances and by never, never giving up. I will be the best I can be by:
1. Continually challenging myself to go beyond my comfort zone.
2. Making the necessary sacrifices.
3. Believing in my ability and the strength of my purpose.
4. Valuing excellence, determination and dedication in both training and match play.
5. Having faith and confidence in, and being supportive of, my teammates.
6. Not making excuses but taking responsibility for my development, performance and for my life-style.
7. Seeking feedback and making contributions to the program.
8. Being tolerant of differences in others and respecting them for who they are and what they have to offer.
9. Accepting disappointments and frustrations and overcoming them by working together.
10. Having faith in the course of action chosen for the team and being committed to it knowing that it may not always be my preference.
We choose to do this thing NOT because it is easy but because it is hard.
Consistently meeting these 10 goals, and living the overall philosophy that they represent, is exceptionally difficult. It requires tremendous mental and physical courage and toughness, and exceptional tenacity. These qualities are what separate the average from the good, the good from the great, and the world class from the great.