Last night, during practice 19 with a team of grapplers, clarity arrived inside my cranium. I’ve been working on mastering my craft since 1993 when the CEO of CompuServe forced me to go to the Center for Creative Leadership and a week long conference focused on me learning about me. “What a waste of time,” I can recall telling myself as I boarded the plane for my flight to CCL. A week later I would board a similar aircraft with a new sense of clarity – I knew what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I didn’t know it yet, but the seeds of my opus were seeing sunlight, absorbing water, and soaking up power yielding nutrition. I didn’t know how I was going to make it happen, but I knew it was only a matter of time…
Last night, another wake up call hit me squarely. I didn’t learn anything new. I was reminded, yet again, of something I know something about but not nearly enough. Last night I saw a team focused on repeating as National Champions. A worthy goal, is it not? Worthy, yes, but it misses the mark – it’s not big enough. You see, repeating or achieving some metric, is never enough to sustain you through practice after practice, treadmill climb after treadmill climb, lease after lease, win after win, loss after loss, or performance plan after performance plan. Only a big dream, well beyond a seasonal goal, keeps the heart pumping with the power of inspiration. Last night, while laying on his back in the corner of our crowded room, Tervel lit us up with his insight around his big dream – the unachievable perfect position after perfect position, leading to his picture of him at his best. He loves his picture of putting himself in the right position, over and over and over. You see, he loves this thought – it inspires him, kinda like the “O” of my opus inspires me.
So, when his legs burn during training he buries the burning feeling and the fear it incites, and tells his brain this is how it feels on the way to his picture. Instead of trying to end it, he embraces and invites it. He loves every aspect of his training, so when the bright lights go on he doesn’t change. There’s the magic. Under pressure, you see, the elite in anything don’t let the brain speed them up or slow them down out of fear. Elite performers simply perform like they’ve been practicing. They control themselves. Anger and fear do not undo them under distress. Calm comes from love – from loving each moment, including the moment under the lights. This morning, Grappy sent me a text that reminded him of the clarity found in last nights practice. He’s clarifying his opus and this next expression is gonna be magic.
“We’re having more fun than ought to be allowed,” I say to myself after every practice with consultants, ambassadors, producers, ditch diggers, presidents, grapplers, gymnasts, financial advisors, builders, body builders, or even bankers. My mind has moved beyond any short term goals, or metric the world screams ought to keep me up at night. You see, fear has taken a hit the only way it can in Tervel, me, and you.
Want to improve your performance? Get a bigger dream. One you love and can’t control. One that lights you up whether anybody else gives a rip or not. Don’t focus on the goal of another win or another National Championship. Focus on the goal of getting better. In the moment, you’ll be present with a passionate purpose. The picture will be in your mind, but it won’t preoccupy the mind. In the moment when resistance comes or is conquered, you’ll simply keep working. You see, more love, is energy to keep working, keep working, keep working. So, so good. Grappy’s text btw – “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.” I John 4:18.
Perfect LOVE not perfection, not somebody else’s expectation, not winning, not losing. Perfect LOVE not some kinda fear based motivation. Perfect is a kinda cra, this side of Heaven. How ’bout we keep working on more. More LOVE. Perfect…