I love the chunking of time – decades, years, seasons or quarters, months, weeks, days, hours, minutes, seconds – and how it helps to break down goals into more manageable segments. At any given point you have the the opportunity to check in and evaluate how far you’ve come, and whether you need to adjust to continue on your path to success.
Spring this year runs from March 20 to June 21st, so regardless of what your weather says, we are halfway through the Spring season! It’s as good a time as any to talk about success: what it means and what is required to achieve it.
Becoming YOUR Best
Success is often measured by comparison and competition. It’s easy to judge yourself and your performance based on how others around you are doing.
However, John Wooden defines success as “… peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.” Og Mandino writes “To surpass the deeds of others is unimportant; to surpass my own deeds is all.” Even the dictionary defines success as “the accomplishment of one’s goals.”
Success means that at the end of the day as you look in the mirror you do so with confidence and humility, knowing that you did YOUR best in comparison to your own ability.
As an athlete, I know how much hard work and practice goes into improving in your sport. One thing all successful cyclists have in common is practice. They are on their bikes two, three four times or more each week. They ride with groups, they practice their hill climbing and sprinting. They know and follow the Law of Practice:
The 5Ps – Perfect Practice Prevents Poor Performance.
Years ago I participated and competed in a mini Triathlon camp. I remember telling my friend and coach Alex, an elite triathlete, that the swim was my weakest link. He asked me “How often do you practice?” My reply: “I don’t.” To which he said “Exactly!” I had been a runner for 24 plus years and then transitioned to the bike, which I fell in love with. I rode often and practiced my biking skills. The swim? Not so much. With practice comes improvement and ultimately, success!
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
Success loves consistency. It does not always come from giant leaps, but from the daily consistent action toward a goal. Consistency builds momentum and keeps you moving forward. If your goal is weight loss, it will happen with what you do consistently, not once in awhile. If it is to build financial wealth, it comes from consistent savings and investment. Have a book to finish or project at work? It will get done with consistent action.
“You’re the average of the five people you spend most of your time with.”
~ Jim Rohn
You are your own person, however, research shows that you will be greatly influenced by the people you surround yourself with. If your desire is to improve in a sport, seek out athletes that are stronger and faster than you or have achieved the success you desire. Don’t be afraid to be the slowest or the least experienced. Surrounding yourself with greatness will challenge you to achieve your own greatness.
It’s OK to Fail
Failure is not the opposite of success; it’s part of success.
~ Arianna Huffington
In cycling with riders who are more advanced than you, you may get dropped and fall behind the group. Yes, it sucks. You may even cry. I hate to admit it, but I have. But it happens to us all at one point or another. We all end up riding with someone better than us sooner or later, and chances are, they got dropped and then swore to get better!
After you get dropped, you work harder than you ever have before. You push yourself a little bit more in those final moments. In Bikram yoga you learn to stretch to your maximum point of flexibility, knowing next time, your body will remember the point at which you left off and continue to improve. In the gym, they call it going to failure and it is a good thing; it is the point where the most growth happens in the muscles. It’s called failing forward.
Fall seven times, stand up eight.
~ Japanese proverb
Intentness occurs when you set a realistic goal and focus on its achievement through determination. This is a mindset. It is saying “I can and I will”. I wrote about this last week in my Keep Your Promise blog. My husband was so determined this year to be his healthiest. He set a goal and was absolutely determined to hit it. He built in healthy habits and he did!
Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down,
one can help the other up…
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (NIV)
I am a pretty independent person, yet I know that much of my growth, healing, success and enjoyment in life comes through relationship. When you work with others, do so with mutual respect and a spirit of cooperation. Collaborate, don’t compete for you will get further together then you can on your own.
A few years ago I was honored and humbled to sit on the wheel of two elite national/world class athletes: Lauren Warren and Shannon Dawkins. We played around, practicing team time trialing: one would take the lead, then roll off to the back to take a rest while in the draft. We learned to flow and work together. We are each strong cyclists on our own, and we were even more efficient and powerful together.
Success is not final
Success is not final, failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.
~ Winston Churchill
Wherever you are on your journey to success, I encourage you to continue toward your goal and dream. Become your best. Practice with consistency. Surround yourself with greatness and be quick to cooperate. Know that failure is a natural step in the process. Stay determined. Work with others in a spirit of collaboration knowing that success loves company!