It has been observed, by those close to me, that when faced with a problem, I head straight to the details. Instead of looking at the big picture, the end game, the overall goal, I get lost in the details: what will it look like, what needs to be done now, is it possible right now, how many possible ways are there to do this? To me, details are the journey, the path of existence. What I decide to do right now and how I do it, the attitude I choose and the things I chose to pay attention to...these things drive the way my day goes.
I have had my share of pre race anxiety. Sleepless nights, worrisome thoughts about reaching goals, being good enough, worthy of my chosen profession and even fear of failure. This is the stuff of high-performance sport. I don't miss those days--much. I would be lying if I said I didn't miss those exciting days a little. I never wanted to let anxiety derail me. I always wanted to rise above it, work with it, use it to lift me to higher level. And the way I did that was to hammer into the details. I made sure I did everything right. Before a race, I made sure I trained as best I could. I ate, slept, practiced my sport psychology, got massage and physio, organized my gear. Details were the only way I could break something so vast, so desired, into a manageable project that I had the power to execute.
My Mantra - while I was a full time professional athlete - could be summed up like this:
If you are going to try and be the best you better do everything you can to succeed.
There are so many details to take care of when training and racing, travelling and eating well. Every day you are given a hundred opportunities to practice doing everything right, and with that a hundred opportunities to choose success. This is not perfectionism, but healthy striving and personal agency.
The thing with doing everything right and taking care of all the details is that it is very proactive and very conscious. You develop practices and set yourself up to succeed and that’s all you can do. Even if you fall short of your goals the disappointment is only temporary because inside you know you did your best.
The opposite is self-sabotage: cutting corners intentionally or unconsciously, overlooking the small details and thereby creating small chinks, openings to fail.
If you succeed, the happiness is also only temporary because the outcome was not luck or chance but your actions. Joy is the practice.
Confidence is not the winning, but the daily practice of learning and perfecting skills, of making yourself capable.
Run For Joy
Writing about the art of moving well and the lived experience of a life in sport.