As mentioned in a previous post I have performed a reflective exercise on my rugby career, detailing all the things that I have learnt and can apply in other areas of my life. I intend to introduce some of these ideas to you via the blog, yet I also have a grander vision of turning them into a longer format, so I welcome your feedback on my writing!
Today I'll start with one aspect of training that I feel is particularly transferable and tends to separate out the winners and losers both in sport and in life. This is the desire to do the unseen work, the gritty, unpleasant, often boring tasks that are so essential to high level performance.
Skill acquisition takes thousands of hours in most cases. If you want to be really good at something then you need to practice it, and this isn't mindless repetition. Effective practice has to be purposeful, you need to be fully engaged with the task, aware of the feedback you're receiving and constantly making micro corrections based upon it. To most people this kind of work is wearisome, they skip it, look for shortcuts and end up average as a result. If you want to be a high level performer then be prepared to grind for your goal.
It is this willingness to work without ego that transfers from the training pitch to the office. If you've got a presentation to give do you skim through beforehand or do you spend a few hours practicing your delivery and running through potential questions? If you are meeting a new contact do you go in blind and waste an hour getting up to speed with their background or do you do your homework so you can hit the ground running? If you aren't the latter person then that may explain any stagnation of progress. Be honest with yourself, if something at work didn't go well then ask yourself why. Could you have done anymore? People tend to get what they deserve. Work smart and hard and be rewarded.
I have a phrase that I regularly refer to which sums this up perfectly: 'Success is created in the time between events'. It is that time when you have no audience, no one checking up on you, no acclaim for your work, that is when you create success. The work that no one sees creates the successes that the world sees.
So when you check in at the office tomorrow imagine that you are the athlete pulling on the boots to train, no one watching, knowing that it is that work which will give you the success that makes everyone watch. Ask yourself what you can do to make yourself better, make a plan and then get grafting. The more you sweat in practice, the less you bleed in battle!