Oct 212008
Authors: Tyler Okland

Olympian gymnast Dominique Dawes challenged students in the Lory Student Center Theater Tuesday night to test the limits of their potential, saying that self-confidence is most significant in a successful individual.

Her 5-foot-2-inch frame centered on the podium, Dawes emphasized the significance of personal values in her speech and said that the “core” of a person’s individual beliefs should be the ultimate guide for forming relationships.

“If you don’t believe you have value or anything worthwhile, it will show. Choose to be your biggest fan. It will show,” she said.

Dawes focused her speech on the premise that life is a journey, not a destination.

“It’s always better to start with a dream, with an idea of where you want to take your life. Then, embrace your passions,” she said.

Throughout her speech, Dawes encouraged CSU students to broaden their ambitions.

“If you’re not getting tired, if you aren’t losing focus, and if you can’t get discouraged, then set your goals higher,” she said.

Dawes pushed the idea that success is largely derived from the crowd that surrounds an individual. She also stressed the importance of character judgment based on core values.

“I am very picky about who I share my life with. I’m not being rude, I’m being selective,” she said.

Several faces in the crowd assumed a blank expression as Dawes proposed success is achieved through failure rather than victory.

“I’ve lost many more competitions in my life than I’ve won, but it’s from the failures, not the victories that I’ve learned the most,” she said.

She discussed the importance of using failure as a teacher to grow stronger through hardship, referencing her personal preference to fail hugely rather than be mediocre.

“I liked the way she talked about succeeding through failure because it validates that not everyone is perfect and that we have to learn from our mistakes rather than give up,” said Jesse Jankowski, a freshman environmental engineering major.

Heads in the audience began to nod in synchronized agreement as Dawes highlighted the need of “life coaches” to inspire and motivate.

She encouraged the audience to discover such a role model in their own lives to better embrace their “life purpose.” Dawes revealed her gymnastics head coach Kelly Hill to be her personal role model.

“Without Kelly, I would not have stayed inspired to accomplish my goals. The key to inspiration is surrounding yourself with people who want you to succeed and accomplish great things,” she said

Staff and audience member Kim Grubbs agreed, “It was once I got a “coach” that I developed a game plan and it has helped me maintain my focus though my ‘journey,'” she said.

At the end of her speech, Dawes encouraged students to mentor and make a difference in others’ lives, claiming that such acts will result in self-improvement. She identified this task as the last step in healthy and successful living.

“When I have an opportunity to inspire someone, those are the greatest and most memorable moments in my life,” Dawes said.

Staff writer Tyler Okland can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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