What does it take to achieve true excellence in your chosen field of endeavour?
- Consistent effort?
- Trusting the process?
- Putting in the time, to achieve skill and mastery?
- Clear vision?
As we come to to the end of the Rio Olympics it strikes me that people who truly excel in their field, whether it be business sport, drama, writing, might just have found the right ‘mix’ or balance between focusing on the outcome they want to achieve and the process that will get them there.
Observing the world class athletes at Rio, it occurs to me that there must be times when it is most useful to focus solely on the outcome; breaking that world record, winning that gold medal. And using this ‘focus’ to fuel your motivation, your passion and your drive to continue on with the practice and to keep on trying.
However there must also be times when the focus needs to be on the process, getting the technique right, looking at your physiology and nutrition and making the time for daily and consistent practice.
Perhaps even breaking the process down into it’s constituent parts, so you focus at a ‘micro level’, really ‘polishing’ your technique and achieving excellence at this level. Maybe not that exciting, probably quite tedious, but this level of detailed focus might just make the difference between winning the ‘gold’ medal, achieving success and not. This I think is what team GB did in a number of disciplines.
“Continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection” – Mark Twain
It’s all about focus and timing.
Paradoxically, when it comes to the big event, the race, the final throw, the final performance that might be the time to ‘Trust the process’ and ‘Let go of the outcome’. Trust that you have been meticulous in your preparation and your practice, trust you have put in the consistent effort, trust that you are in fact ‘ready’.
By letting go of the outcome you might actually give yourself the best chance of achieving it. By being fully focused and present with the ‘moment’, I believe you can run your own race. In my view it’s a bit like taking a penalty, have always thought it made more sense for the ‘penalty taker’ to focus on the process and forget the outcome, forget the ‘occasion’ and just score the goal.
If the ‘player’ is too focused on the occasion and the outcome of their shot this may well take away from their ability to do what they have done countless times in practice. That is, to simply drive the ball into the back of the net.
Because in a very curious way, world class athletes are really competing against themselves, against their own fears, against their own doubts and comparisons, and against their own anxieties and then they win.
So until next time