Athletic, Business and Health Professionals

phelps - no limitsIn his book titled “No Limits: The Will to Succeed”, Michael Phelps states that…

“You can have all the talent in the world, be built just the right way, but you can’t be good or get good without hard work.”

Phelps doesn’t stop there, he goes on to say that the physical dimension alone is insufficient….

“At an Olympic final, you know everybody has physical talent.  So who’s going to win?  The mentally toughest.”

Yet the physical and mental attributes together still do not yield the ability to engage adversity and prevail as displayed by consistent peak performers…

2008 Beijing in the finals of the 200m FLY, Michael Phelps goggles fill with water. Unable to see the walls, he counts his strokes; unable to see his competition, he retains composure, wins the event, an Olympic gold medal, and sets a new World Record of 1:52.03.  In 2001, Serena Williams was heckled by the spectators of the Indian Wells Tournament, called a “nigger” while on the court, yet continued on, winning her match against Kim Clijsters.  As a junior athlete, Usain Bolt while racing at home in Kingston, Jamaica had the entire stadium turn on him, jeering at what they thought to be a subpar effort from Bolt.  If Bolt had quit, he would never have experienced his triple gold medal performances at both the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. Greg Louganis during preliminaries of the 1988 Seoul Olympics hit his head during a reverse two-and-a-half pike dive. After stitches, a moment with his coach, and within the time allowed between dives, Greg climbed back up to the platform to perform his final two dives, each harder than the one he had just done. He scored a 87.12, the highest score for any dive in the prelims, came third, and qualified for finals.  While practicing for the short program of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, Canadian figure skater Joannie Rochette received tragic news that her mother had died.  Joannie continued to compete in her mother’s honour winning a bronze medal and was chosen as the flag bearer for Canada for the closing ceremony.  In last years Tour de France (2015), Chris Froome (Team SKY) had urine thrown on him by a spectator, and teammate Richie Porte was punched, not once but twice while riding; yet Chris Froome held onto the yellow jersey winning his second Tour de France.

Perhaps the epitome of overcoming adversity…

At the boathouse of the rowing competition of the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Silken Laumann walked on with a cane, supporting a fractured ankle and a leg still healing from injury. Only weeks ago, during the warm up for Worlds, Silken was struck by another boat.  All the muscle and soft tissue of her right lower leg were ripped off the bone, out of her leg.  Multiple surgeries were necessary to reattach her muscles, ligaments, nerves, and to fix the bones in place.  Undeterred, Silken was back on the water within 5 weeks, and in 10 weeks competing in the heats of the rowing competition.  She left Barcelona with a bronze medal.

What holds a pro together when the body is in pieces, and the mind holds to the dream by the thinnest thread? Emotional stability is the unifying force.

Business is no different then sport. Business has its hecklers who throw out opinions mid-meeting, its own media trumpeting the success of a recent quarter or thrashing management for its failure to deliver results. In business the physical can go bankrupt, despite the mind envisioning success. To hold onto the mission, to move ahead of the market, to set industry standards is no different than pursuing Olympic gold, a World Record, or a Championship title. To do what others refuse, to do what others fear, to stand when others back down takes a stability which arises not from conquering the external but the internal.

There is a point which arrives for all professionals – athletes and business professionals alike – a point where linear progress is blocked.  It is at this point pros realize that their natural skill, desire, energy alone are all insufficient to take them to the next level.  For some, this point serves as a cue to retire, for others it is a breaking point, for a few it is a tipping point… a trigger turning their journey from an external search for achievements and acknowledgements, to an internal expedition.

Beyond this point progress is no longer a means to an end, but an endless process of exploration. A search begins, the search for true potential, for the state which is inextricably linked with insight to our individual path.  It is at this time that growth transitions from a uni-dimensional effort, to a coordinated multi-dimensional experience; where the challenge is to learn how to unify oneself resulting in the ability of delivering consistent peak performance irrespective of what is happening around, to, and within.

For most, this state is stumbled upon as a fleeting moment of cohesion, of symmetry, often described as flow.  This state occurs when we are no longer split, when our dimensions unite. Initially elusive, this state can be sustained and conditioned as normal with training.  In time, not being in this state becomes abnormal.

Professional coaching sessions are in-person consultations using sport as a training tool and metaphor for developing strategies to overcome physical blockages, to challenge fixed mindsets, and to engage new levels of stress, adversity, and fear which prevent growth.

Getting Started…

One on one professional coaching starts with an in person complementary session where the professional and coach share their philosophy, priorities, and goals to ensure that there is a proper fit.  From there, arrangements for ongoing appointments and a fee schedule are made.

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