How much do you really want it?
do you really want it?
We are often our own worst enemies. We say we want things, but our lives say something different.
We say we want more time to plan our business idea, but we come home from work and sit in front of the TV or spend time with family then roll into bed exhausted. We say we want to get up early to make time to get fit or have a quiet time in meditation and prayer, but the alarm goes off and we hit snooze as we prefer to stay in the warmth of our beds.
We book onto a course to develop ourselves further, we read books hoping that this one will be the one that changes the course of our life, but the days go by...then weeks...then months...and eventually years and all that learning rarely translates into any long term action. In fact, very soon the learning has been unlearnt and we default to following that famous definition of insanity: doing the same thing again and again, but expecting different results.
Now that’s not to say we don’t have positive times when we do achieve what we set out to. But the difference between success and failure can often be consistency. And consistency, doing the ‘right’ things day in, day out can come through knowing our desire and motivation and staying focused.
I love sports. I’m writing this at the end of the week when Lewis Hamilton has become Formula 1 world champion for the fifth time. That is an amazing feat. There is only one other driver in the history of the sport that has achieved more than that, and Lewis still has time to beat that and become the best of all time.
Now you don’t need to like watching people speeding round and round the same circuit seventy odd times. That really isn’t the point. Translate this metaphor to whatever sport works for you. But the same things apply. Lewis Hamilton didn’t wake up one morning being world Champion. He wasn’t an overnight success.
One of the issues in our modern society is that we just focus on the surface. The symbolic image of my business is the iceberg. You’ll see it all over the website and various branded elements. It is a famous symbol for extolling the virtues of knowing what lies beneath. Ninety percent of an iceberg's’ mass is below the surface of the water. So we only see the ten percent above.
Looking at any athlete, it’s easy to see the ten percent in the public eye. But as with Lewis Hamilton’s recent achievement, this took dedication, hard work, getting up in the morning when he’d rather stay in bed. It took sacrifice, both for him and his family...his dad famously working three jobs at one point to pay for Lewis to go karting–one of the roots into driving a Formula 1 car.
There were times when things didn’t go so well, when he thought is it worth all this sacrifice, not being able to do what many kids, then young men his age were doing...because he had a different goal. He had clarity on what he wanted to do, which was a huge driver (if you pardon the pun), but even with that you still have to make the decision to follow that goal.
You never succeed alone
When you look at the top athletes you will see they rarely do it alone. It’s next to impossible to become the best on your own. Look at tennis players–another of my favourite sports. They have any amount of the following: coach, fitness trainer, physio, mentor, agent, not to mention their family, partner, parents and more.
Lewis Hamilton has a personal performance coach supplied by the company Hintsa. This allows him to be incredibly focused by having someone else to worry about the things he doesn’t need to.
Dr Aki Hintsa developed a whole model of personal performance he called The Core. He died in 2016 but his daughter, Annastiina Hintsa the current Chief Operating Officer of the company explained in a recent interview what others could learn from top athletes, particularly Formula 1 drivers.
“That focus can lead to performance. What always impresses me, with even the young drivers, is their incredible focus on what matters the most. They set themselves a goal, define whatever it is that they want to achieve, and then optimize the rest of their life to support that goal. That’s applicable to anyone.”
Hintsa famously worked with Sebastian Vettel, helping him to achieve great success winning multiple Formula 1 championships. He also echoed the importance of not going alone.
"In order to be able to focus and give your maximum, it is important to have the right professionals around you. I've got a team of people working hard to help me achieve my goals and pushing me forward."
I can imagine some people thinking it’s OK for them. They can afford a whole team of people to support them, but I can’t. That, however, is looking back at the ten percent. They too had to start somewhere and build up to how you see them today. You can too.
Do a few things well
I remember when I started working with a coach–paying for personal performance services for the first time. One of initial exercises I was given was to note down everything I was doing. All projects large or small. I won’t give a full list, but this included running a couple of monthly events, a quarterly event and three podcasts (one of which was fortnightly), writing a book and none of this was my main business bringing in the income!
After looking back at the list I had a shock. I was doing a lot more than I’d expected. My coach got me to look at whether it was possible to do as many as 26 things and do them to any semblance of high quality. My response for me at that time was no. It’s not realistic.
With her help I was able to set a criteria based on what I really wanted, then jettison those things that didn’t meet the mark. It wasn’t that I could never take them up again. They just weren’t priority right now.
It should come as no surprise that the following year was my most successful year in business. It makes complete sense. The more focused you can be, the more you can build in things to keep you from distraction.
Having “incredible focus on what matters the most” as Annastiina says above is as key for us as it is for F1 drivers.
So back to that question. How much do you want it? Whatever it is for you, what are you willing to do to cut out distractions and focus on the prize?
Feel free to let me know in the comments or directly by email.