We creep toward the end of the year, and all begin to get excited about opportunities ahead, including choosing races and events. We are not the only bunch of athletes and fitness enthusiasts laying out performance plans for next year, but I would like us to be among the minority of those athletes in the right way. Every plan must be made with a commitment to execute and follow through, no matter the obstacles and unknowns that get thrown at us.
In order for this to occur the best laid plans and race plans should be fueled with a sense of purpose. Your likelihood of success is amplified when you understand your why.
I should state, your ‘why’ does not need to be some noble pledge, nor does it need to have a grander purpose that will lead to a major impact on the world. Following your performance goals doesn’t have to be in pursuit of a cure for cancer or as a fight for justice of any species in danger of extinction. It should be authentic and personal, but act as the base to return to when you stray off course or suffer a setback as you navigate toward it.
Let me give you an example, which was provided to me by a good mate and former coached athlete, Sami Inkinen. Sami was originally the founder of Trulia Real Estate, and after taking the company public he set about a more personal mission. He is aiming to revolutionize the approach to treating type II diabetes, via his company Virta. He was chatting to me about patient success,and the importance of anchoring the patient on a deeper purpose. Let me align Virta’s observation, and tie that lesson to an athlete.
Patient Goal: “I want to lose 20 pounds and get off daily insulin”
Athlete Goal: "I am going to complete my first IRONMAN - which is Lake Placid in July"
Now let’s look at the why. A patient defining the anchor purpose that is important to them:
Patient purpose: "I want to see throw baseballs and kick soccer balls when my 4 year old is ready to play sports"
By achieving the goal, this patient will be healthier, lighter, more mobile and active. They will be able to keep up and play with their older children, not standing on the sidelines forced to sit on a portable chair because their knees can withstand the weight support for a whole practice. By painting a vision of the future, and who they will be, or could be, becomes a powerful driver. Of course, wrapped up in this is the powerful driver of parenthood, being an example, living life.
So what is your WHY? What is driving your performance? When it is cold and dark out, and the alarm goes off, what lays deep inside you?
For 2022, I am training for a demanding bike event, the Haute Route d’Alps. I am excited, and it will be tough but fun. Driving my why can be built around a single word. Family. This is a real adventure, and I would love Baxter to see what training for something means, and that a commitment can lead to cool adventures and experiences. But it is also a strong connection with my brothers, as we say goodbye to our Mom in the last weeks. Our father already passed. It is going to be special to spend a week together, suffering individually, but as one. A life experience. It holds me to account and amplifies my spirit.
Why do I share this? I share it to extend an invitation for you to spend some time over the holidays thinking on your "why": what is important to you, why are you chasing your performance goals. It might be simple, but it must be yours. It will drive through 2022.
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