Committing to excellence is what has shaped some of the most successful athletes in the world. An average athlete can turn into a great athlete by having a vision and a sense of focus that cancels out all distractions. Excellence is not about how much money is in your bank account or what kind of car you drive. Excellence is about waking up each morning and declaring that you will do your best at everything you do and be better than you were the day before. Excellence is not about settling for average. When you give your all at everything you do, when you commit to excellence daily, you will suddenly start to see the quality of your life escalate. You will feel more at peace. You will feel a sense of accomplishment like never before because you know that deep down, you gave your all. Stephen Battle sat down with us in the ISSCD to discuss what excellence means to him. 25 Days of Excellence will feature a different student athlete or coach throughout the whole month of December.
What are you passionate about?
I am passionate about authenticity and creativity. I believe that there is a fire within everyone that can be brought to the surface. It’s within you so you should make it your own. Be creative, let it shine differently than everyone else’s.
What are you most grateful for?
I am most grateful for the gift of choice that God gave me and the rest of us. Freedom is such an important thing and it is what makes our accomplishments so special.
What are the most important things to you in life?
The most important things to me in life are the bonds we share with others, our continuous search for self, and the countless experiences life has to offer. The fact that time moves quickly makes these three things extremely valuable.
How would you describe yourself?
I would describe myself as a creative thinker; an analyzer. I often try to put myself in the shoes of others, and to see situations from different viewpoints. I try to see as much beauty in the world, and in people, as possible. My accomplishments thus far have been possible due to my ability to be articulate and creative when need be. Perseverance has also gotten me this far.
What are your values? What do you represent? Who do you want to embody?
I highly value compassion and grit. I think that carrying out both of those characteristics, you can’t go wrong. I like to mix the two together. For instance, the runners here at Neumann are very competitive with one another. I love it. I like to encourage my teammates because I there’s something greater inside all of us than what we are currently showing. In Track and Cross Country, we all run our own times. If I, persay, am faster than one of my teammates, I do not want them to settle for that. I want them to come at me with everything they have. I want them to beat me. And for that I would congratulate them wholeheartedly. However, I would not make it easy. I won’t simply allow it to happen. With all of us having this mindset, we develop a great amount of grit, as well as the ability to show kindness and compassion.
I think that I represent the love that everyone has for what they do. I do the things I do simply because I enjoy them and I like to put time into those things. I hope that when people see that I am shamelessly doing the things that I love, that they feel inspired to do the same thing. I would say that I embody passion. When I partake in something, I put my being into it. I personally, am inspired when I see the passion others have for the things they are involved in.
Look at your life right now. Are you living the life of your dreams?
I have not yet even scratched the surface of what I wish to accomplish in the future. However, for the stage of life that I am currently moving through I’d say that I am certainly living the life of my dreams. I have my struggles, my lows, and my stresses just like anyone else but that’s a part of the current dream. It has allowed me to further appreciate the good things in my life. I am enrolled in a wonderful, growing institution, and I have so many amazing people beside me. So it isn’t just about the end of the road for me right now. That is the beauty of it. I am enjoying my time walking this path and figuring life out with people I love.
What advice would you give yourself 3 years ago?
I would tell myself that if something sparks my interest, explore it. Why wait? I would also tell myself that life does not get any easier, but you do get stronger. Lastly, I would tell myself to not wish time away. Stop focusing so far ahead in the future. Be present. Because the present is a gift, and the future is coming regardless.
What do you want to achieve in life… Short term vs long term?
Short-term, I simply want to do well academically and athletically. I want to set a solid foundation that the future me will be proud of the current me for building. Long-term, I want to influence as many lives as possible. I am studying Psychology because I want to understand people. Even making a huge difference in the lives of just a few people, I would find satisfaction. Because who knows? Maybe those few people will continue on to make an even bigger difference in the world than I was able to. It would be a really neat chain reaction.
What drives you?
The very beauty of this world and the beauty of human nature is what drives me. I am astonished by our ability to persevere and to aspire. I want to unlock my God-given potential and be the best version of me possible. I want to achieve happiness and I want to help others achieve the same thing. My drive is all about working with others so that we may all soar high.
What does excellence mean to you?
Excellence is knowing that pain is coming, yet pushing even harder. It is about fighting against the odds, even if you aren’t hitting that hard. Most of all, it is about recognizing the flame within oneself and igniting it so that it may do its part in lighting the world.