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‘Never ever give up.’ How do I do that?

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For some time the PERIPHERALVISION performance coaches and I have working with an emerging team of swimmers who trying to break into the elite level. Some of this squad are already national champions and medal holders – but their dream is ‘to be great’. With ‘great’ – comes very, very high levels of expectation and pressure from almost limitless angles. When there is such constant pressure – often the thought of ‘giving up’ crosses our mind – even in the mindset of the elite – [ be they athletes or executives in our experience. ]

We recently held a dialogue with the squad suggesting they are currently in a place that is a little like ‘no man’s land’ in their training/competition phases – i.e. – the insane physical/mental and emotional pain and drain of January’s Hell Camp was over and they were still six weeks away from the key goal – the nationals. Even their school and university environments were similar – it wasn’t the excitement of going back to class and catching up with everyone anymore -or- the energy and nerves of exam time was no where to be found. Or so it would seem.

I’m not exactly sure of the origin of the expression ‘no man’s land ‘ – but I’m guessing that you understand it is kind of like being in the middle of no where – in between the ‘big races or big personal events’ – it seems not that much is interesting or driving you in that moment – and – you have plenty of time to think. With ‘plenty of time to think’ [ remember we each have around 12,000-60,000 thoughts in any given day ] can come an unproductive darkness like self doubt and a possibly a reduction in self confidence in pursuit of our greatness.

Each morning – we issue the team something we call a daily ‘Character Muscle’ vitamin – the analogy is like taking a daily vitamin to top up on any particular nutrients that we may be missing in our current diet. In this case – our focus is on building and strengthening the character – personal and interpersonal – of every person in the squad so that they can better deal with their daily pressures and heavy situational challenges. Each of which is seemingly trying to derail them from their purpose and goals. Just like the feeling of ‘no man’s land’, motivation can dip or evaporate quickly if we don’t pay close attention.

Together we have chosen a number of particular Character Muscles that – as individuals and as a squad – we would like to exercise, strengthen and develop towards their full potential. The basic principle – if I/we truly want to be the best that we can be – then we will need to do something unique and what many others aren’t willing to do – i.e. deliberately design and develop our character – the sense of who we want to be at our greatest.

Each week – we select and focus on a particular Character Muscle as a team for development and ‘exercise’. [ based on the ‘use it or lose it’ principle ] This particular week – the Interpersonal Muscle – Appreciation was chosen.

I’d like to share with you a TED talk video clip of a swimmer who has an amazing commitment to appreciation, team work and an enviable attitude that lives the motto = “Never ever give up”. This is a great example of what to do when we find ourselves in any experience or situation that feels like – ‘no-man’s land’. Listen closely to her story. Notice how much she has put into her pursuit. Notice who she acknowledges and appreciates. Notice the size and difficultly of her challenge – in the context of her circumstances. Notice her mindset.
I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

“Never ever give up”

Make a commitment // So now what?

.01 Who can you/do you appreciate to help you get through the really tough situations? Do they know that they help you so much? When was the last time you appreciated them? How could you reaffirm their support?

.02 What is something in your life that you want to give up on – stop doing – quit on? What are the excuses and stories that you tell yourself to help hide you from the commitment of your greatness and your stated goals?

.03 Talk to your most trusted inner circle – or – your own personal board of directors to help guide you forward -and- face into these situations, challenges or stretches of doubt? How can you shift the way you see this challenge right now so that it more productive and positive for you? What are the options for action and commitment? What commitment will you make to ensure that you ‘never give up’ on your pursuit of being the best you can be – being the greatest you possible.

As always – I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas on ‘Never ever giving up’ and exercising the power of Appreciation. If you would like to understand more about how our client’s exercise their Character Muscles – drop us a line.

// regards
Glen Fisher
Founder – Chief Performance Officer