Last week was an interesting week and gave me some time to put a few things into perspective and also reflect on my own development this year.
I've had a really busy week in work and had to juggle around my training slightly but still managed to nail every session, Saturday was a great example of this as I did a shorter run (10km) than normal of late but upped the intensity of the session, a great way of making it count. Although faster run sessions are not necessarily essential training for an ultra they are good in terms of mixing it up a bit and having entered the Great South Run for later in the year it will help towards the training for that when I want to be running at a much quicker pace.
I had a meeting with the tutor from the training provider for my external study in work on Thursday. This was the first meeting I’d had (they’d forgotten to schedule one which should have happened weeks earlier). The quality of the work I’m providing is to a good standard, but I was told that in certain areas I was emphasising on what I was already doing, rather than how I would be using it in the context within the study areas.
I was extremely annoyed and angry with myself as I should have done this properly.
I sat down to reflect on this and gave myself a bit of a rocket up the backside. To me this wasn’t acceptable and didn’t meet the standards I expect from myself. I felt that the quality was good, the effort I put in was what I would expect, but the outcomes didn’t match. I decided that this needed to change and change immediately. Being good isn’t good enough, being exceptional is.
In the past I would have beaten myself up about this, and it would have lasted for quite a few days at a minimum. I would have been dragging myself down a fair amount, and it would have focused on other areas of my life as well, therefore increasing the scope of self-blame.
I was more focused on what needed to change, what I wanted the outcomes to be, what I needed to do to change that immediately, and what I needed to put into place to stop it from happening again. The focus wasn’t on what I felt I had done wrong and picking up a stick to beat myself with Instead I focused on what the solution was and putting it into place.
I also reflected on the reasons I was doing the study in the first place, the differences it was making presently and the differences it would make in the future. I felt it was important to do that to realise the value, not just the value to myself personally but also the overall value to myself professionally and others as well. I don’t expect excellence to happen automatically, I expect excellence to happen through hard work, determination, learning from mistakes, and never quitting. I also know that if I want excellence to happen I need to raise the bar. That requires putting in more effort, that requires pushing limits even more, that means knowing that if 80% is required to reach the standard than 90% should be the minimum target.
I looked at the targets and goals I’ve set for myself this year. Some of those I’m smashing, others are going well. I looked at how I might improve on each and every one of them – what would happen if I put in that extra bit of effort, how much difference would that make. I also reflected on how much I’ve developed and changed in the last month, since the start of the year, and since a year ago. The answer to all of those is a lot. I’ve not been this determined for years, I’ve not been this focused for years, I’ve not been this self-disciplined for years.
Instead of sitting there and feeling a certain amount of self-pity and focusing on self-blame and feeling bad about myself I felt fired up to make the changes I needed to put into place and action them straight away and to get back on track. I was able to put a glitch into perspective and focus on the outcomes I wanted and move forwards more determined to succeed than before.
Richard Guy, 47 years of age, born and grew up in London and have lived in Portsmouth since 2017.