Sunday, 24 June 2012

Lessons from the greats

I remember sitting on my Nonno's lap, only knee high from a grasshopper, looking up at him in awe of his acumen and knowledge, at a man who had survived a war, sailed the seas and faced adversity, thinking to myself, with assurance that one day I too will tell a great story.

We are part of a generation that has been handed a life of ease, where everything is out there for the taking, our forefathers left us with great knowledge and great opportunity, where they have written the books and its up to us to read the writings, to learn from history while creating our own with simplicity.

Yet with all the information available to us, so many still fail to make the effort to learn. Everyday people claim to be impassioned by the work that they do, yet mention a great leader in their field who has accomplished so much for the industry, who has fathered methods and practice, and they have yet to read their books or follow their teachings.

If you want to be great at something, you need to be great at getting there.  As a trainer and a coach my life is encompassed by my passion.  People have often pointed out that I need balance and I need to let go and explore other interests.  I agree with this, yet I feel my time right now is for my development.  I spend hours a day researching top coaches theories, when I think of travel I think of destinations where I can spend time working with men and woman who have devoted their lives to coaching and training.

I have gained the basic "science" required to teach, yet that is just the tip of an iceberg of knowledge.  I strive to surround myself with coaches who have worked with the best, who have paid the price and who still  endeavour to keep learning.   In 2012, it seems that even the grey man in the street with no previous knowledge can spend two days acquiring a skill and practice it like its second nature.  Obama did not become president over night.  Chris Barnard did not just perform the first successful heart transplant.

Muhammad Ali spent countless hours in the ring training to be the best, Edson Pele spent thousands of hours attempting goals,  Nelson Mandela served time behind bars, the greats paid their dues to be the best.  The greats devoted their waking hours to giving their followers the optimum, their foremost, the ultimate of themselves.

I hate average, I hate mediocre, I will not settle for the boilerplate.  I will be unbalanced, devoted and dedicated to ensure that my clientele, my followers and myself get what is owed to them by their coach.

I remember walking down Bond Street in London one night when I came across Roosevelt and Churchill having a chat on a bench, I joined them for a moment.  At the time I was torn between two paths in my life, whether to continue along the road I had mapped out or to venture into the unknown. Just being in their presence, in the company of men who had given our generation so much, even the silence moved mountains within me.

Walking away from our silent conversation on that bench on Bond Street I learnt that, the greats, in whatever form or shape are there to be learnt from, Churchill was a veteran who wasn't afraid to to take on the big shots and Roosevelt said that the only people who ever fail are the ones who never try.  Fail quickly and fail forward to success.