What is success? I have just been discussing this very topic with a fellow coach. I am involved in swimming and have been since I was 5 or 6 years old. It is one of my passions in life. It is however, a sport where to get to the top, you must give everything. There is no halfway, there is no slacking. It is tough and it often isn’t pretty, it is dam hard work and a big part of it is a mental game.
But, I will again ask the question, what is success? Is it getting a gold medal at the Olympics or the national championships? If that is what we define as success in swimming, then most of us mere mortals are setting ourselves up for failure. As a coach and mentor in a cruelling sport, we need to draw out the smaller successes, the ones that are important to each individual. That might be fixing the wonky left arm, or finishing a swim in a personal best time or getting down the pool with only 4 breaths. Whatever it is, is only important to that individual and it is my responsibility (as a coach) to make it a big deal and to celebrate each little win, because we often neglect to do that for ourselves.
The process of writing this blog has made me realise success is whatever we make it. If we define successes that are unattainable, then of course we feel like failures. And that, is precisely what I have done most of my life. My definition of success has been different to most. I have set the bar too high for myself and my expectations have been often unrealistic. It is no wonder I then focus on the things I don’t get done or the things I don’t achieve.
But, I get it now. I need to focus on the little wins, on the day to day successes, because when I sit back and look at all the things I have achieved, instead of the things I haven’t, it is pretty dam impressive (if I do say so myself!!). I really want to help kids see this too. It doesn’t matter what it is, so long as the goal is not unrealistic you can do it. And then, you set the next little goal. It is just like climbing a flight of stairs or a ladder.
Then, when you take the time to reflect and look back down that flight of stairs, you will be amazed at all the things you have achieved along the way. Success is yours, we all have our own path and our own story.