Day in Life 2.0 – Day 3 The Process

Posted: April 29, 2011 in Uncategorized

“I find my greatest pleasure and so my reward, in the work that precedes what the world calls success.” ~ Thomas Edison
Over the years, I have observed the importance of deliberate goal setting and planning. Whether it be personal, health business or sports, goal setting is critical to success, or sometime failure. Goal setting is tricky, if you are going to climb the ladder towards a goal, you better make sure you have leaned it against the right wall. Modification, reassessment and occasional improvisation are critical to successful attainment of goals. Many have difficulty with this. We call it change, and we know how most of us deal with that.

With all of that said, I find the most succesful people in business, health improvement and sports are more focused on the process rather than the outcome or goal. That does not mean that you lose focus of it, but that you only “glance up” and occasionally check that ladder.

If your goal is to lose 30 pounds in 4 months and this extrinsic goal ( remember pros and cons of extrinsic vs. intrinsic goals from previous post?) is only deemed successful when you get there, you probably will experience some un-fulfilling days.  My goal each week is to train my guys to generate sub 13 second pit stops, which will hopefully contribute to the outcome of winning a race. That sub 13 only happens about 30% of the time.  It’s like being a .300 hitter in baseball, which makes you a superstar, but you are still “failing” 70% of the time. Analyzing and learning from the over 13’s creates the sub 13’s. It’s a process and you must pay attention to it. You must absorb it. Experience it. The process is how you get better. It’s where you improve. Most of us have no idea it’s happening, because we are staring up the mountain at the ultimate prize.

Failure to experience and appreciate the process is not just common to sports. I have seen this in weight loss and fitness improvement programs as well. A person is so focused on the far off outcome or goal, that they fail to realize and celebrate the process on the way. Why? They feel better, cloths fit better, people compliment them, but…I have not reached the final outcome, the weight goal.  Many become discouraged because they are not getting “there” fast enough. They quit.  If I want to summit Mt. Everest and all I do is stare at the peak, the ultimate prize, I will die by falling into a crevasse or off the mountain completely!

We need to embrace the process, because ultimately, it’s where all of the good stuff happens. Believe me, some of the most depressed athletes I have ever coached, are the ones who have just “won” or reached the “summit”. As a coach, it’s some of the worst and most difficult times I will have with athletes. I call it the Now What Syndrome. Lance Armstong mentioned that he felt down after some of his big Tour de France wins. No one loves the process and preparation more than Lance. I have seen it after big weight loss goals have been reached. A woman who had just lost 60 pounds told me she was miserable after hitting her weight goal. When I asked her why, she said “My boyfriend still thinks I am a loser, just a skinny one”. Of course. Being overweight did not make her a bad person, but  she had set an extrinsic goal of making someone like her more vs. an intrinsic one of feeling better, gaining control of her life and enjoying the process of mastering lots of things. When we went back over all of the data (heart rate information from all of her training logs, tests,  the miles of riding her bike etc.), she finally realized she missed out on the really good stuff.) It’s the same with athletes who compete simply to make lots of money. These athletes seldom succeed long-term.

I have experienced the same feeling of being down after reaching big goals. The picture below,  from about a week ago, when I was cleaning out a drawer. I found  2 championship rings and one Brickyard 400 ring buried in the bottom.

The Buried Rings

I have never really put any of my “winnings” on display, not because I am not proud, but I just don’t feel like it. Don’t get me wrong, I love setting big goals and winning, but I believe that the ultimate feeling of success comes from embracing the day-to-day process.

“Chop Wood, Carry Water” Zen Saying or Do Work SON

8:30 -11:00 – Today is my off-day prior to the Richmond races. I slept in, caught up on reading from my iPad, played a video game on iPhone “Left Brain, Right Brain”, and worked on a new sleep improvement strategy I want to implement starting next week. Ate a handful of macadamia nuts.

11:00 – 1:00 pm Starbucks grande red eye. Took time to mingle and interact with the best baristas in the world, and went outside to sniff for honeysuckle. Went to JGR office and reviewed notebooks and pit stop data from last years races at Richmond. Philosophized to Paul for a bit. I do that sometimes. Packed my Oakley backpack with my road stuff.

2:00-6:00 – Came home, at lunch of scrambled eggs with fresh spinach, guacamole and some bacon. Caught up on some shows on DVR. Barca v Real Madrid game from yesterday.

6:00 -8:00 – Grocery shopping. Dinner of fresh ground beef patties, steamed spinach and asparagus, home-made blue cheese cole slaw, Dos Equis, fresh strawberries with coconut milk.

8:00 – 12:00 NFL draft for about 5 minutes, then self administered weekly haircut, packing, reading a magazine article.

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