With the 2012 Olympic Games in London on the horizon, talk of high-level performance, achievement, going for gold and motivational strategy is already rising in pitch. Olympic rower Jason Dorland knows how important it is to convey the right message about winning, and in this compelling memoir he shares his challenging journey to cultivate a healthier outlook.
Detailing his experiences rowing with the Canadian National Rowing Team and later coaching high-school crews, he reveals how a devastating performance at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, Korea, defined his life for years to come. “In it to win it,” he fell apart when that didn’t happen. The same win-at-all-costs mentality that made the Olympic loss so hard to bear was also what made it difficult for him to move forward, despite his efforts to overcome his overwhelming sense of failure. Over time, however, he came to a new level of understanding about facing challenge, and with this book he sets out to share what he’s learned with coaches, athletes, business people and anyone else who needs to perform at a high level without losing their humanity or their spirit.
An honest, intimate look at the reality of high-level athletics, Jason’s memoir is more than a sports story; in charting his progress from struggling athlete to an inspirational coach driven to instill a healthy competitive spirit in his rowers, he shows how in sports and in life, it’s all about the journey, not the outcome.
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|Jason Dorland has written an insightful and significant book. As in Shakespeare, the wisdom of the book is revealed in the conversations or asides between him and Robyn Meagher. Robyn, an Olympic runner, provides Jason his awakening, teaching the world-class rower to get a grip. To pull together is, really, to pull oneself together.
Hockey Night in Canada
|Jason Dorland has written a deeply personal and brutally honest account of the highs and lows of growing up within a ‘winning-is-everything’ sport culture. His journey from athlete to Olympian to retiree to coach is intense and fascinating. This transformative story of one man’s struggle to conquer his own demons in order to better the lives of those he teaches is as remarkable as it is inspiring.
|It takes courage to examine the anatomy of a failure and use it as the seed of greatness and fulfilment. [Jason’s book] is not only honourable, but highly inspirational.
|Not your typical story about a young man finding his way through sport and his Olympic dream. Inspiring.
|Jason provides us with a new definition of winning. He inspires us to live each day with integrity.
Author, The Wealthy Speaker
|Dorland gets it. Winning is only one part of the sporting adventure. His captivating story will empower you to use sport as a catalyst for the next generation.
Olympic Champion Rower
|This is one of the best Canadian sports books that I have ever read. The author talks in moving terms about learning from failure & disappointment and carrying on to become stronger as a person and then become a role model for young athletes. Whereas most sports books celebrate victories and heroes, Jason's story speaks about humility and finding a deeper meaning in losing - and then making those lessons a life mission to share with others. I wish I had read this book when I was a competitive athlete (I will make sure my daughter does) but I wish more that every young athlete would read or at least be exposed to Jason's story. His core principle, however, the 'Win is Within' is applicable to all of us, in every part of our lives where we set goals, compete, seek to do better - and then evaluate whether we 'won or lost'. Jason believes that if we focus on this binary outcome, we are bound to be disappointed. This is a life book that uses sports to imbed the deeper meaning.
CMT - Brockhouse Cooper
|My guess is that the titans of the rowing “industry” will look skeptically upon the central argument of this book. Clearly, the Olympic movement in Canada is led by those with a gold fixation, revealed in jingoistic slogans like “Own the Podium”. But my hope is that some of the athletes that aspire to reach the heights of Olympic glory will be inspired by this story to look within themselves to find the motivation to reach their highest potential. My only disappointment with this book is that, by being focussed on the esoteric sport of rowing, it won’t receive the wide readership it deserves. This is a book that should be read by coaches and competitors regardless of their sport – in fact, it will be valuable for anyone who has to confront the challenge of setting goals, staying motivated and inspiring high-performance athletes to reach their highest potential. It’s slightly frustrating that what isn’t revealed is exactly how to motivate those athletes in the absence of trying to beat the competition. But perhaps that’s the point: don’t look to someone else to tell you how to reach your potential. Look within to learn that.
PhD Candidate UVIC
|As a therapist, I have read a significant number of inspirational/self discovery books over the years, and find some of them simplify the experience into a marketable “how to.” Not Jason’s. It was refreshingly free of instruction or expert advice, and this is what made it so appealing. Jason trusts the reader to make it personal, and to develop his or her own “how to.” Furthermore, this book offers men a way to examine themselves and their motivations and the possibility to evolve into collaborators without loss of masculinity..
Although I know very little about rowing, Jason’s succinct technical details made it easy to stay in the story. I finished this book in record time and so enjoyed the journey! I trust this engaging, witty page-turner will warm, challenge and inspire anyone who chooses to read it.
Jane Bradley and Associates: Counselling for women and men