What It Takes
on August 04, 2013
Success is not a place or a thing; success is the process of getting up every morning, putting in the work, dealing with the disappointments, striving for the wins and being able to say at the end of the year that you had more victories than defeats.
Success is the journey, success is the grind. Success is working at your purpose.
Think of the Olympics and Paralympics and the waves of athletes standing on podia, receiving gold, silver and bronze medals. Most people would call them successful because they’ve won a medal. But I don’t see the success in these pieces of metal around the athlete’s necks. And when you hear some of these medalists speak about the ceremonies, they admit that the victory was a ‘relief’, that it almost felt like an anticlimax after all the hard work. Some of them wish they could have had their coach on the podium. Why? Because the real success was the hard work, the striving, the pain, the early mornings, the parties missed, the lack of free time.
The real success was honouring their purpose. It always is’
Mark Bouris, ‘What It Takes’.
What I love about this excerpt from Mark Bouris’ book is that it embodies exactly what sport has meant for me as an athlete striving for the ultimate success at the Olympic games. My life has revolved around elite sport for the last 15 years, and through experience and reflection I have realised that while some of the victories were incredibly special, it was the journey that I valued most. The athletes I competed against and with; the opportunity each day to test your commitment and limits.
While I thrived off the physical challenge I achieved my greatest results when I learnt to emotionally and mentally maximise my performance. Over the many years seeing and being around the best athletes in the world, this was the defining characteristic that separated the best from the rest. Every athlete knows how to do the physical, but it was the ability to mentally and emotionally deliver when it mattered that was the difference. In some athlete’s this was innate, they possessed an incredible inner belief that was almost impenetrable, in other’s it came through experience, trial and error. I fell in to the latter group; my best performances came from meticulous preparation and the belief when sitting on the start line that I knew exactly what was going to unfold.
As Mark Bouris correctly identifies, the journey to an Olympic games is the ability to put in the work, deal with and learn from the disappointments; “success is the grind”. We’ve asked our 776BC athletes to gives some insight to the challenges they have faced in the ‘post-Olympic’ year. This is where the mental and emotional strength and learning really happens. For four years your life has been defined by a single date and time where you hope to deliver your ultimate performance on the ultimate stage. Then it’s all over. It’s a confusing and can be depressing time; regardless of your results.
In the post-Olympic year a new Olympic journey begins and it has to take on a different form. Athletes have to avoid the grave mistake of trying to relive and recreate the past; the past is the experience you draw on, and not a moment you should try to re-live; because you never will. The experience should be used to find new improvements and new challenges. It is this part of the journey that no one ever really sees or hears about, but are the building blocks to an Olympic and Paralympic journey.
We are excited to have on board an exceptional group of athletes in the 776BC team, and while their results and achievements are undoubtedly impressive, it is ultimately their integrity and character that fits so neatly with our passion at 776BC. 776BC is all about representing Olympians and Paralympians. To us, they are the real athletes. And we want you to be part of the journey, to get an insight to the early mornings, the disappointments, the hard work, the purpose, because ultimately that represents the real success, not the medal.