Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Perseverance + Determination = Results.

Today I want to share another story of endeavour. This story is about disappointment, setbacks and heartache but ultimately it's about the age old recipe for success that is behind all triumphs and successes. 

Laura is an elite rower who has sacrificed much in life to achieve her goals. She often trains twice a day, travelling long distances and has a job that fits around her sport. Expensive yet nutritious food is a must and any edge such as sports massage or good supplements also come at a substantial cost.

Laura had great expectations last year. A personal best was there to be smashed and with an eye on some medals she was working hard on the mental aspects of performance. All was going well, improvements were being made and obstacles were scaled and overcome. Then Laura's trials and tribulations started..

For several months Laura suffered with colds, infections and sinusitis. There were injuries and hospitalisations to the team and nothing was going to plan. From what seemed like a promising season a dark, empty future loomed ahead. But Laura carried on. She trained, listened, practised and above all else believed in herself. She had a powerful vision of her end goal, unwavering in its clarity despite all the challenges she faced. The mental techniques she recently embraced endured throughout her adversity however there is never any guarantee of success. But perseverance and determination give you a chance.

So what result for all this hard toil.......?

A gold medal at the British Rowing Championship and a gold medal representing England at the Home International regatta!

And in true champion fashion Laura is already focused on the next goal and working as hard as ever to succeed.  As Winston Churchill once said "when your going through hell...keep going"

If you are interested in finding out more about Laura you can read her own blog here

Monday, 9 April 2012

"I never got this far in my dreams"

"I never got this far in my dreams" was the response Bubba Watson gave when asked how it felt to win the Masters. He was overcome with emotion and was struggling to hold back the tears however the elation he was experiencing was clear to see. He was just being brutally honest as he has done before when admitting he plays the game of golf for the money. And this straight talking, from the hip delivery has got Bubba in hot water many times before including the infamous remarks he made about some famous French landmarks whilst in France. In fact Bubba is unconventional in many different ways including the way he hits a golf ball. And nobody gave him a chance of winning.

Other things of interest which tend to get less coverage in the media are his love of life, his strong Christian faith and his incredible work for charity. But these facts don't sell papers.

What I'm interested in is quite simple. Now that Bubba has surpassed his dreams what will he go on to do next? If he can win a Masters event without believing he can then surely the skies the limit?


Monday, 26 March 2012

Inspirational Change.

This is a story for those that think they must accept their lot in life. Its a story for those that think that leopards cannot change their spots. It's a story about human spirit and the incredible capacity we have for fundamentally turning our lives around irrespective of our circumstances, our chequered past or even our present situation. Its a story about a man named John. And John is an inspiration.

7 years ago John was a career criminal. He was brought up in an environment where money was his master and was gained from foul play. It was a path that was laid out for him and he chose to follow it. He worked the system and had some near misses but then he got caught and was sent away for 7 years.

Nothing changed at first. He was playing the game, biding his time and planning his return to the outside world and back onto the path he knew well. But then his world collapsed. In a cruel twist of fate his best friend outside the prison walls was shot dead in a robbery. This was the catalyst for changing Johns life for the better.

He cannot adequately explain how he felt at that time or describe the emotions he experienced.  All John knew was that it could have been him and he would have made nothing of his life. He knew he had to change or would be doomed to live a life devoid of fulfilment.

Johns last 4 years have been a story of focus, dedication and self reflection. He has channeled his energy into indoor rowing as the prison was fortunate to have such a machine and he has excelled beyond any rationale expectation by beating world endurance records and winning the GB indoor championships. He also recently came third in the European championships amongst a field of high performance athletes used to competing at this level. Yet I know this is only the beginning for John. He has exciting times ahead of him. He has jettisoned his old life and is working hard to create a new one and he has shown me how we all sometimes cling to our old lives which can lead to excuses which ultimately hold us back.

And Johns metamorphosis is not solely based around sporting endeavours. He reads voraciously about self development and philosophy. He gains friends and admirers everywhere he goes. He has a contagious smile and a huge appetite for life.  And for someone so focussed on winning he is incredibly gracious in defeat. He is a true champion.

Too often we assume we have no control over our own destiny and are defined by our past. I beg to differ. And so does John. Do you?