All of us have things we want to achieve in life. For some it’s a sporting goal, a marathon or triathlon perhaps, for others it’s to be top of their game when it comes to their chosen career. Many hold dreams so unimaginable to others that you think them a tad crazy, like our friends Nic and Kristina that are currently cycling round the world or another friend Toby who recent rowed across the Atlantic.
Whatever dream you have and whatever intention you set yourself the one thing that will carry you onto success over failure is your mind set. My goal in 2011 was an Ironman distance triathlon (3.8km swim, 180km bike, 42km run) physically I trained smart, avoiding injury and exhaustion, mentally I trained well knowing this was what would ultimately see me through. I knew that when the chips were down, my mind would be the only thing that would keep me heading towards the finish line, so it was essential I worked just as hard on preparing that as I did my swim bike run.
This weekend sees the ITU Triathlon take place in Sydney. It’s an olympic distance race (1.5km swim, 40km bike, 10km run) and we know many athletes that are taking part. We’ve been training an amazing group of girls for a few months now and we feel so proud of them already before they have even taken the start line. A few have done the distance before, for others it’s a new journey full of excitement and trepidation.
Racing along with the age group athletes, that fit their training in around life and full time jobs, there will also be elites athletes, competing at the top of their field and, for many, the dream of the Olympics in London later this year. Among the elite line up will be our friends Gill Saunders competing for South Africa and Will Clarke competing for Great Britain. For them the belief they will win is strong, mentally they are prepared.
In preparation for this weekends race, I thought I would post up a passage from a book that helped to get me mentally prepared for my race and has also gone on to provide me with lessons for life and valuable coaching skills. Spirit of the Dancing Warrior by Jerry Lynch and Chunliang Al Huang is a 52 week mindset and meditation tool based on ancient asian wisdom to improve performance in life as well as sports.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone with a sporting goal, but more importantly, to anyone who has the intention to be the best and whatever they choose to do and to live their best life.
Read, meditate on it, go out and take on the world!
From Buddha to Bob Marley
In this, the second stage along the path of the Spirit of the Dancing Warrior, we shift gears to preparing and focusing our minds on positive, productive thought. In the words of the Buddha, “Our lives are shaped by our minds, we become what we think.” When our thoughts become destructive, negative, or counterproductive, they trap us. Bob Marley, in his superb classic “Redemption Song”, makes the point that we all must work to find avenues to escape mental incarceration because if we don’t no one else will and our lives will forever be bound by limited mind-sets.
There is one consistent difference between a poor performance and a very good one: your thoughts. For example, if your thoughts are focused on what you cannot control results, time, points, or goals scored -you become tense and tentative, and you create much self-doubt. Your performance will invariably be disappointing. On the other hand, shift your focus to what you can control-the process, the little things, the preparation, the effort, your mental state -and you will become relaxed and confident, and your performance will be quite satisfying. Where the mind goes, so goes your performance. Change your thoughts and watch your life change.
The good news is that you are in charge. Thoughts are only thoughts, and you get to choose between those that hinder and those that help. If and when negative thoughts come into your head, simply say, “Thank you. Good-bye.” Acknowledge them and invite them to leave.
Good luck to everyone racing this weekend especially Nicola, Isabell, Lisa, Sabine, Brian, Louise, Fraser, Sheryl, Gill and Will. We’ll be there cheering you all on, knowing you are amazing.