4 Secrets To Help You Explode Your Ultimate Potential!
(with Pursuit Athletic Performance triathlete, Susan Ford)
"Short cuts make long delays." – J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship Of The Ring
"It is not the table - it is the spoon." – unknown
Triathlete Susan Ford
In four installments over the next few days, I'm going to share with you powerful secrets to help you explode your potential. Today my focus is secret #1. Over the next few days, I will share the remaining three secrets. The inspiration to share these with you comes from one of my coached triathletes and good friends, Tennessean Susan Ford (pictured left).
Listen to this: In 2013 at the age of 48, Susan set a new PR at the 5k, 10k, half marathon, half ironman, marathon, AND ironman distance! Just this past weekend (now 49 years old), she ran the Cummins Falls half marathon in Jackson County TN, and not only set a new PR (on an extremely challenging and very hilly course), she won the women's OVERALL title. And that isn't all. She finished 4th overall among both women AND men, was a mere 17 seconds behind the 3rd place male, and only 6 minutes behind the overall men's winner! At age 48. Wow.
I can tell you, this is a vastly different experience than any she has ever had in the past. Susan not only hasn't always won races, going back she often didn't even finish in the top half of the field. In fact, she has spent many years struggling at the middle of the pack, in various stages of injury and plateau, always wondering whether she'd ever be able to train and race the way she really WANTED to.
When we began working together about five years ago, I had no idea how good she could be (I never know that with anyone I coach - how could I?), but I DID know she had a very long arduous road ahead of her to reach her true ultimate potential (whatever that might be). She was fragile and not moving well, she wasn't very wise or experienced as an endurance athlete, and was clearly training way over her head. She had mastered the art of masking minor injury on a daily basis, and routinely dealt with so many aches and pains that I was concerned about her ability to continue to train and race long term. We've had many interesting conversations over the time we have worked together about how she doesn't have the proto-typical endurance athlete's body (tall, long legged, wirey) or that she never seemed to be blessed with as much natural talent as some other athletes (can any of you relate to that?). What she clearly had (among many other things which I will share with you in this four-part series), was a strong work ethic and dogged determination.
Fast forward to today. Susan's amazing success that now has her at the TOP of her Age Group in any race she enters, speaks to just how FAR someone can go when they put the right resources and abilities together and don't give up or give in.
The path Susan has followed to reach this point is SO powerful that I felt I had to share her secrets to success, not from her viewpoint, but rather, from my perspective as her coach. She isn't the only athlete I work with who achieves this level of success or who embraces these four secrets. However, what I will share with you is what separates Susan from many others trying to find their path toward fulfilling their ultimate potential and happiness.
Look for the next three installments of this series over the next few days. I hope you find them helpful. Trust me, this is no B.S.
What I will share with you HAS THE POWER to explode both your results AND your enjoyment of the sport. These secrets can change your life!
The Devil Is In The Details.
I could probably re-phrase this secret to there are no short cuts - no easy way. Regardless, this arguably overused cliche, "the devil is in the details," conveys what is at the very center of this secret for exploding your potential.
Every one of us has heard this idiom at one time or another. It simply means that if you overlook certain things in a plan or scheme, having overlooked those things might cause problems later on. What I'm talking about isn't just having a desire to be better or willingness to "work harder," or even more efficiently. The difference between just going through the motions (or approaching something "mostly" correctly) vs. really focusing and zeroing in on detail is absolutely huge and can't be overstated.
To reach your true potential, you must embrace every detail associated with your development. Here are just a few examples:
- Seeking to perfectly execute any exercise or training session that is programmed.
- Learning from errors and planning ahead to avoid repeating them.
- Planning ahead in your daily schedule to ensure you're not rushing through any aspect of your training and preparation.
- Taking time to evaluate (or have someone else evaluate) your movement quality on a regular basis.
- Videotaping yourself to objectively assess what you're doing routinely.
- Not rushing through warm up or cool down.
- Getting enough sleep, eating optimally, and reducing daily stress.
- Consistently and accurately keeping a training diary for appropriate reflection and monitoring.
- Communicating clearly and consistently with those mentors who are guiding you.
And what's more, being truly detail oriented and not looking for short cuts goes way beyond the routine items mentioned here, and in fact, speaks to more holistic and ultimately profound concepts. For example:
- Have you made a conscious choice (after thoughtful deliberation) to completely embrace the training philosophy that you follow? With 100% commitment to the process?
- Do you take 100% responsibility for your choices and actions, and approach every aspect of your training to the very best of your ability?
- Do you haphazardly follow your training program (hitting "most" of the details) or do you execute it to the best of your ability, as closely as you can to how it is laid out for you?
- Do you see the value in the very subtle difference between doing things "mostly" correct, vs. as correct as is possible for you on that day?
- Do you take the time to learn about the philosophy behind the training system you follow, or are you content to just have "a plan" and wing it?
- Do you embrace the mundane grind that is an inevitable part of long term mastery of a skill or ability?
- Do you pick and choose from a variety of methodologies, thinking you have the expertise to know what is the best mix for you, or do you make a conscious choice to follow a certain path and then stay true to that path?
From day 1, Susan has worked hard to more fully embrace the philosophy of training and the detail presented to her, and then she put 100% of her energy into making the most of that philosophy on a daily basis. She sees the training laid out in front of her and never looks for a way to make it easier for herself. She has never changed something on her own believing she knew better than I did when I programmed it for her.
Picture a great artist toiling over tiny detail in a painting, a superb violinist carefully tuning their instrument, or a surgeon carefully washing their hands prior to going into the operating room. Like Susan, they all know the devil truly is in the details.
The greatest thing of all is that the same approach to detail that leads to mastery and improvement is also the thing that will enhance your enjoyment of the process itself AND lead to better long term growth and improvement!
Look for secret #2 soon. Make it a detail oriented day! Enjoy!