November 10, 2011

How Well Are You Connected?

When you really boil it down there are two types of triathletes:  those who focus on being a triathlete and those at focus on becoming a triathlete.  If that sounds a bit confusing then let me explain.  Folks that focus on being a triathlete are inclined to go through the motions in training with the goal of crossing the finish line so they can say they did it.  Those who focus on becoming a triathlete use the training time they have available to be the very best they can be… the race and the finish line are the payoff for their effort.  If you see yourself as part of the latter group then it all starts with clear, compelling goals.

But really what does that mean?  Clear seems pretty simple.  It means you know exactly what you want.  But compelling is a bit trickier.  Compelling involves attaching emotion to accomplishing this goal…deep connection so to speak.  Here’s how to think about this.  Imagine waking up to a chilly morning, buried under several layers of warm blankets with your (insert here:  partner, child, dog) snuggled up against you.   How motivated are you to spring out of bed in the dark and head off to that damp, cold pool deck with next to nothing on?  You’re going to need a strong emotional connection to get excited thinking about plunging in the water instead of hitting the snooze button!  In the psychology world this connection is referred to as “grit.”

Grit is defined as the perseverance and passion for long-term goals (click here to learn more).  Simply put it means that in order to be successful, you must have both a deep emotional connection (passion) and the commitment to develop the skills (deliberate practice) necessary to accomplish your goals.   The initial step then is to figure out your passion; otherwise you’re cheating yourself by going through the motions of goal setting.

Don’t let the idea of “identifying your passion” turn you off.  History shows that passion has been pivotal for those who dream of (and ultimately accomplish) any big goal in life.  But passion and goals are different, and are often used interchangeably.  Here are a few examples to illustrate what I mean:

  1. Passion:  Fully living the triathlon lifestyle.  Goal:  Qualifying for and racing the Ironman World Championship next season.
  2. Passion:  Having a lean, fit body with lots of energy.  Goal:  Lose a pound a week for the next twenty weeks by reducing portion size, eating balanced meals, and eliminating alcohol.
  3. Passion:  Living a life of abundance.  Goal:  Volunteer an hour a week at the local food bank.

Are you connected with your passion?  Or are you still chipping away at goals and not seeing much improvement in your results?  It’s important to bridge the two if your aim is to become a triathlete and not merely check off the box on your bucket list that says, “Finish a triathlon.”

If you aren’t sure how to unearth your underlying passion, be sure to check out this week’s Feedback Zone exercise for some ideas.  And get ready to get even more down and dirty in my next newsletter topic where we pick away at a topic that we all must face the MINUTE we identify our true passion.

That’s it for this week.  Until then train safe, stay healthy, and hope to see you at the races.

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