Column: All sports produce success and despair
The spring is the time of year when we start to have some fantastic sporting events at elite level. We have already seen the Winter Olympics, the University Boat Race in it's 164th year which saw Cambridge University manage a clean sweep in all of the four races.
We’ve just had the masters Golf from Augusta USA where the worlds best golfers play for the coveted green jacket on the manicured and landscaped course with the azaleas in full bloom.
Another legendary event is the Grand National from Aintree where it’s not always the biggest that wins, as happened this year when Tiger Roll won with the smallest margin from Pleasant Company, on this occasion the smallest horse had the biggest heart.
As I write this we are on the final day of the Commonwealth Games aka the friendly games from Gold Coast Australia. Here we’ve seen some of our stars fail in spectacular fashion but we’ve also seen some magnificent performances where the athletes have excelled in the pressure cooker environment of international sport. Our Ladies Netball team won a magnificent gold medal when they beat Australia in the Gold medal match in the last second of the game, having just done this in their semi final match against Jamaica. So what is it that separates us from success or failure?
It’s not just a matter of luck or having a bucketful of talent. We think that our sporting heroes are quite probably superhuman. The truth of the matter is that some of the athletes will be able to thank their parents for their genes, but really the minute differences between success and failure are simply a matter of psychology.
The athletes spend hour upon hour working on their mindsets, they will be optimistic, highly motivated, work incredibly hard and visualise their perfect event/race. The very best will also plan for what happens if something goes wrong and how to cope with pressure and anxiety.
I ask you, why is it acceptable to believe in yourself when competing in sport but not apply those proven techniques to our own lives in the workplace or at home?
We can all achieve our own personal records or win our own personal race, but we have to learn a new skill which is called self discipline. Creating new habits that will help us to get what we want out of life.
I will be leaving the house in a few minutes to go and support my friends, club mates and clients in their first race of the season at the Early Epworth Triathlon, a 400m pool swim followed by a 20k bike ride and a 5k run. I cannot guarantee who the winners will be, but what I can predict is that this local event will mirror the international sporting arenas. There will be drama, there will be success and there will be despair. Some will excel and surprise themselves and some will under-perform.
This is sport.