When I decided to take up the luge and train for the Olympics I was 21 years old. Back then I thought I could make it to the Olympics all by myself. I still had a lot of growing up to do…

In “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” Steven Covey talks about three stages people go through – dependence, independence, and interdependence. At 21, I was still in the independent stage and needed to move on to becoming interdependent.

Along the way I realized that I needed some help. In order to accomplish great things I was going to have to develop some leadership and people skills to build a team. Then I would have to work through the team to make my Olympic dream come true. I was going to have to turn singles luge into a team sport.

It’s no different in any big project or endeavor. Lone Rangers never accomplish as much as people who work through teams.

You need to work through other people to accomplish great things.

I like to keep things simple. I believe it takes only two things to be a good leader. It takes passion and integrity.

If you are passionate about your mission, you will attract the people who are like minded; people who would like to be a part of your mission. I was passionate. I told everyone I talked to about my Olympic dream. Everyone! And I was excited about it. I was not wishy-washy. Other people had no doubt that I believed in and was committed to the dream.

By doing that, whenever I talked to someone who was interested in the Olympics, I became their link to the Olympic Games. And many times they were willing to help me out.

Believe me; I needed a lot of help.

I needed financial help. It’s very expensive to be flying all over the world to train and compete. You’re also out of work for months at a time. Everyone thinks I have corporate sponsors. People ask me, “Ruben, who are your sponsors? Coke? Pepsi? Nike?” My sponsors were Visa and MasterCard baby! I put it all on the card. And after maxing out my credit cards, my family lent me tens of thousands of dollars. It’s part of the price you pay to succeed.

I needed medical help. Doctors, Chiropractors, and massage therapists that kept me healthy and patched me up after bad crashes.

Finally, I needed spiritual help. I needed people who would keep my spirits up when I was struggling. Especially in the beginning. People who would keep me from quitting. The first year I was crashing four out of five times. It got to the point where even after crashing, it was going to be easier to get back on the sled than to come home and tell everyone I had quit. I couldn’t quit. I didn’t want to let the team down.

To build a Dream Team, you must dream big, be passionate, and be a person of high integrity and character.

My passion about the Olympic dream attracted people to me. I believe everyone has the capacity to be passionate about something. Unfortunately, most people keep their passion all bottled in. They don’t want to show their passion out of fear of what others might think. I didn’t care what others thought. I actually wanted to know who did not believe in me so I could stop associating with them.

I made it a point to only spend time with my supporters. Doing so made me unstoppable.

The first part of leadership is passion for the cause. The second part is integrity.

Would you follow someone you don’t trust? Of course not! So if you want to be the leader and have others follow you, you need to be absolutely trustworthy. Your word is Gold. You keep your word. You start being very careful about what you promise. You must deliver on every promise. Every time you don’t, your credibility and your reputation will suffer.

If you have passion for the cause and you are a person of integrity, you’ll be ahead of 95% of the people out there. People will be attracted to you, and you will be able to accomplish great things.

Have you been trying to do everything by yourself?

Who are three key people that could help you massively accelerate your progress?

What’s keeping you from enlisting them to your cause?

When people think about you, do they associate you with your dream? If not, you probably need to be more passionate about your dream.


Olympic Motivational Speaker Ruben Gonzalez