This time last year, I promised myself that I would be back competing at a high level in swimming again. I kept that promise, and I plan to compete at the international level this December.
I was recently featured in a press release on PRWeb about my achievements in competitive swimming. I believe it’s important to take a breath and recognize achievements before moving on to the next goal, so I want to express my appreciation for being able to celebrate these milestones and illuminate one of our core values at Gordon Group: Anything is possible.
If you take the time and effort to gain a mental edge, you can accomplish anything.
You just need determination.
Training and competing have been part of my life since I was a young boy. I started off diving, and at 10, my coach thought I should switch to swimming. I was reluctant because I knew how intense swim practice would be, but the coach needed another body in the pool, so I agreed.
Just a few years later, I placed first in New York state competitions and went on to set a Division I record at Iona College that still stands today. I even traveled to Illinois to train with a coach who brings athletes to the Olympics.
Throughout the next 30 years, I kept training even though I wasn’t competing. I added yoga and triathlons into the mix. Yoga taught me mindfulness, and training for triathlons gave me tenacity. Both of these attributes made me mentally strong and gave me the prolonged determination and energy to come back to competitive swimming with vigor.
One thing I’ve realized is that once you get to a high level in swimming, your opponents are just as skilled and talented as you. In sports — and in business — you’re actually playing two games at once: one against your competitors and one against yourself.
The hardest battle is always the mental one.
If you can’t win the mental game, you don’t have a chance of winning against your competitors.
My most challenging days are the days when I just don’t want to go out and run 20 miles — when it’s raining or snowing or I’ve got a schedule packed with meetings. These are the days that separate the champions from the rest of the pack.
Take the example of Roald Amundsen, who competed against Robert Falcon Scott in the race to be the first man to reach the South Pole. Amundsen’s expedition was years in the making. He spent months living with indigenous populations, acquiring sled dogs and supplies, and planning the route. Scott spent relatively little time preparing but had motorized sleds and only progressed in fair weather. Unsurprisingly, it was Amundsen who reached the target on schedule by setting daily goals and making slow, steady progress.
If you’re able to go out and train every day consistently, then you have the mental edge you need to succeed. This is exactly what I found and what Gordon Group prides itself on.
Consistency doesn’t mean not pushing yourself, though. Once you reach a certain level, you have to expect that there will be no more “easy days.” In business and in swimming, if you’re having an easy day, you’re not competing hard enough. You have to put in everything you have if you want to win. If you can tell yourself every day to keep going and push harder to get to the next level, then you can win the mental game.
What are your secrets to staying consistent and maintaining determination as you work toward your goals?