Between Now And How Long It Takes
“Ten years,” Oliver told me.
“That’s it?” I asked.
“In the men’s kayak category, with proper coaching and training, from the first time in a kayak to standing on the top step of the Olympic podium. Ten years.” he assured me.
Oliver Fix would know. He won an Olympic Gold Medal for Germany at the 1996 Olympic Games in Whitewater Canoe Slalom. He is one of the most methodical high performers I know. I had hired Oliver to lead a special project for our sports organization to identify critical elements of peak performance.
When a huge benchmark or goal is established, the inevitable question becomes, “How long will this take?”
Of course this question is applied nearly to everything. Want to lose a few pounds? Give it a few months. Want to get an MBA? It takes a few years. Want to be the musician who plays the rhythm that inspires a crowd to instinctively dance? Want to win an Olympic Gold Medal? Well, now you know.
Once we have an idea of the duration, then we decide whether or not trading the time is worth it.
Right here in this gap lives the seeds of resistance… its name is “Rationalization.”
Attempt to rationalize the gap between “How long?” and “Mission accomplished” and we often become stuck with a losing proposition.
Rationalization will keep you from turning on the metronome to slowly practice your musical instrument until your rhythm is perfected.
Likewise, rationalization won’t move us out of bed to go exercise outside on a bitterly cold, January morning when the pay-off isn’t until next summer. Or ten years away.
But, consider for a moment that we tap into our irrational selves and head out into the cold anyway. Step by small step we will chisel out some small wins. Little bits of progress will be realized every day.
Our irrational self will be the first to spot a new destination that comes into play. It doesn’t care about “How long.” Our irrational self cares about a process where:
Innovation is present.
New skills are learned.
Challenging decisions are made.
Engaging relationships are formed.
“How Long?” becomes time-irrelevant. “How important to you?” becomes the time you want to invest.
Hi, I’m Joe, the owner of 5 With Joe Performance Coaching. My clients are leaders, organizations, and teams who utilize my Olympic Gold Medal performance strategies and 40 years of navigating whitewater river rapids to streamline decision making and actions when engaged in complicated river currents of business and life.
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