Choosing the winner of the #WhatsYourGold challenge was a struggle (how relevant!). Going through each of your stories showed us the scale and scope of the human ability to inspire and verified that "impact" cannot just be a measure of quantity, but most certainly, quality. After determining the top three, we spent hours trying to decide the winner. Again, uniqueness made it difficult to compare. At the beginning of the contest, we purposefully neglected to publicly create a list of "criteria" we might use to determine the winner. This was partly because we only know enough about journeys and storytelling to know the 4 basic points (goal, struggle, breakthrough, outcome), but also because had we laid out criteria at the beginning, we felt that participants would tailor their stories to fulfilling them, ultimately inhibiting the uniqueness and forcing everyone to fit into a box.
Basically, what we wanted people to realize through the process of wanting to achieve something was to find that the achievement itself was not the ultimate prize. The hopeful result of the process is that you changed, became a better version of yourself. The wish is that you gained tools that you'll use the rest of your life, recognized resistances, both internal and external, and now have the ability to overcome them.
We also hope that you can now communicate and guide others through the same process. This is the most important result of the #whatsyourgold challenge. Helping others through their journeys, however large or small, would not be possible if you had not been through, and understood, your own journey. Ray Kurzweil, a notable author, scientist, and "futurist" says it best:
We are optimistic that we have helped some of you make a lifestyle change. That you've gained tools you'll use the rest of your life, and have the ability to show others how to make use of their tools, to climb higher, and to never give up.
All of you - Inspirations
you have taught us so much. Your ability to open up about your frustrations and fears (as uncomfortable as it may have been) has helped us understand the passion you have for your goal.
First, forcing yourself to accept and deal with your emotions has given you the ability to see the bigger picture of a situation. This is something that we still struggle to do and are constantly working on.
For being able to find your weakness of constantly comparing yourself to your competitors, and to be a strong enough person to realize you're better than that.
For understanding the whole point of sport is to create an environment where you can excel, push yourself, and become the best human you can possibly be.
But probably the biggest and most important lesson we've learned from you is the importance of being a constant source of encouragement and inspiration to others, even when you yourself are not encouraged, are in a low place, or are taken away from the thing you love most. This is something we only hope to be able to master in the future.
You are a true inspiration to us. At the Olympic Games, when things aren't going 100% smoothly (because they never do) we will look up into the stands in remembrance of all you've taught us. We probably won'y be able to see you however, because the stadium will be big ;)
- Ash & Bri