Jazmine Fenlator is 28-years old and from Wayne, NJ. She has sacrificed everything for her dream. She continued her dream pursuit even after becoming her family’s primary income source when her mom developed lupus, had a heart attack and a series of strokes that left her partially blind.
Jazmine spends an estimated $80,000 per year to compete in bobsledding. While USA Bobsled provides the two-man sled, Jazmine pays for travel, a strength coach, $250 per hour ice time, health insurance, bobsled spikes ($300) and sled runners ($5,000 to $12,000 per set) that are tailored to each ice condition.
While some Olympic athletes get endorsements, most have to make significant financial, career and family sacrifices. A survey by the USA Track and Field Foundation found that 50% of USA athletes that rank in the top 10 in their event earn less than $15,000 per year from the sport (sponsorships, grants, prize money, etc.).
The sacrifices people sometimes make for others is amazing. There are 6,000 living kidney donors each year taking the risk of having surgery for a loved one or as an anonymous donor. 40% of all U.S. adults are caring for a sick or elderly family member with chronic illnesses and many of them are also doing a lot for their kids.
We are willing to sacrifice everything for intrinsic prosperity. We can’t see it, nor measure it, yet we can feel it. We know it must be inside those smiling Olympians standing in the center of the podium while their national anthem plays.
Millions of people earn a modest income sacrificing lucrative salaries for the opportunity to make the difference in people’s lives. We put careers and finances on hold to raise families, send our kids to college or create businesses. We try to find purpose in tragedies dedicating our lives to preventing others from experiencing the same feeling and giving more meaning to the loved ones we lost.
Connected and Loved
We get married to people that requires moving to a new community and leaving friends and loved ones behind. We drop everything in our lives to help those we care about. We sacrifice job opportunities and the pursuit of passions to spend time to be with our families.
We may reorient our entire lives as to minimize the number of people that can tell us what to do. We may stay in our comfort zone at work or in relationships as we may fear change will destabilize our lives and take away control. We may work at low income jobs for the freedom of becoming a Grateful Dead groupie or train for a chance on the Olympic team.
We are willing to risk a known (time, personal reputation and financial resources) to attend colleges or pursue a dream for an opportunity to experience an unknown outcome. We quit jobs, move across the world, leave our comfort zone behind for a new set of possibilities. We spend emotional capital to audition for American Idol and bet what we can’t afford in casinos.
We put our lives on hold to train, compete and win (Olympics, ironman) for the reward of feeling competent and successful. Entrepreneurs and scientists are relentless in the pursuit of solving a problem or making a discovery that is more about having success than a financial reward. We purchase luxury cars and expensive homes as a symbol to ourselves and others that we are a success.
We are willing to work hard to earn college degrees, spend countless hours writing books and make less than minimum wage in becoming a restaurant owner. We deny ourselves the immediate gratification of today for the feeling of accomplishment in the future (i.e., retirement savings). We take pride in our work and families that may compromise what we treasure.
We leave jobs, relationships and communities when we lose confidence that we do not belong or are in a position to succeed. We feel great when we overcome fear and vulnerability by putting ourselves out there (marriage proposal, audition, run for a political office) and risk exposing ourselves to other who may see us fail.
If you had the necessary drive and athleticism, what would you do for a shot at competing in the Olympics? What about all of the sacrifices?
Jazmine and teammate Lolo Jones finished 11th overall in the women’s two-man bobsled this week though it is so much more than a race. “I get to be in the Olympic village with my teammates, it’s sunny outside, doing a sport I love, and my mom just fights every day for her breath,” she said. “So I have to kind of put things into perspective, a bigger picture.”
She may have been experiencing each of the 7 things we sacrifice everything for.