Sorry it's been awhile since the last blog post - I have been an author maniac!!! Trying to get the first draft of my book finished so that I can start to cut and polish it into the little diamond I hope it will become. I will let you in on a little secret - publication date is the 1st May, 2014!!! But of course, keep an eye out for pre-order in the new year, cause you know, you just might get a little extra something if you pre-order!
Anyway, onto this controversial thought I had the other day. You see, between writing like a maniac and ... well .... eating and sleeping, I have been speaking at some schools (AND to a Beavers group - they were sooooo cute!). I spoke at Hymers College in Hull the other day and whilst there I was treated to a delicious lunch and the chance to chat with a group of lower-sixths. Whilst chatting away with them the idea of what it means to be an athlete and what it is actually like to be an athlete came up. I told them many many things about training, drug testing, racing, injuries, attitudes, and the like. I also said this thing about a well known, in fact extremely well known athlete. Who?
(Image from here)
What did I say about Usain Bolt? Well, I said that he was an amazing athlete who really disappointed me. The students gave me a questioning look with a slight bit of "are yo' crazy woman?!?" thrown in. Well, no, I don't think I am crazy, and here is why .....
Have you ever realised that you have an extraordinary gift, and this extraordinary gift means that you are fantastic at - your sport of choice, your job of choice, your craft of choice? You are so fantastic at whatever it is that you know that you really just have to do the bare minimum to get by. So you do the bare minimum, and you ace it every time - you always come first, get the promotion/pay rise, or outshine the person knitting next to you. The problem is, you aren't pushing yourself, and therefore, even though you are bloody fantastic at what you do and get praised to the high heavens, you actually don't know exactly what you are capable of.
This is Bolt. Whenever I see him race I see him get the most amazing start, and then I see the effortlessness with which he pulls ahead of his competitors, his long legs striding, arms counterbalancing, eyes focused. AND then Bolt hits the last ten metres of his race, he starts to look around, losing focus, he eases up, and practically strolls over the finish line. Augh!! Frustrating!
Why is it frustrating? Cause here we have an insanely talented person who is not reaching their full potential!! And why isn't he? Why doesn't he?
When I was a swimmer I gave every race my all, pulling on all my resources to be the best that I could be in that moment. Why would I want to short change myself and my abilities by pulling up short of the finish and cruise home, that isn't being true to myself or my coach, or my parents, or my fans - in fact it's being flat out miserly with your skills and gifts.
So, what do I do now, when I speak? I give it my all every time - even if I struggle to pull out my best, at least I consciously have tried, unlike Bolt in his running race, who, I personally think, let's himself and others down by never giving his all.
Call me controversial if you want - but it does irk me, those that have a gift but don't use it to it's full potential -
What gifts, skills, talents do you have that you could be using better? Do you consciously "pull up" in the last ten minutes of your exam, your race, your speech?
DON"T DO IT!!!
PUSH YOURSELF TO THE VERY END
GIVE IT ALL YOUR BEST SHOT!
Cause if you don't no-one else will do it for you - you don't see Usain's coach lassoing him those last ten metres and dragging him to the finish for that new world record, nope, if Bolt wants that world record he has to do it himself. So never falter in giving your best ....
PLEASE DON'T DO A BOLT.