I chose the University of Guelph for several reasons: the Human Kinetics program’s reputation, the Nordic Ski program and their Student Athletic Therapy program. In 1996, I was still competing as a member of the BC Biathlon Team while training to be on the Canadian Olympic Team.
While my peers trained in Canmore, I toiled away in University completing my degree in 1999. While I balanced my commitments to the BC Biathlon Team, Gryphon Women’s Ice Hockey Team (student athletic therapist) and the Gryphon Nordic Ski Team (competitor), my fellow competitors were gaining World Cup experience and getting faster.
Even though I didn’t make it to the Olympics then, the Olympic torch stayed lit in the back of my mind for the past 13 years. I will be there as a volunteer and a spectator when they come to Vancouver in February 2010. What a party and experience that will be.
After nearly ten years of deep reflection and self-learning I figured out why I didn’t make it then. My coaches, my friends and my family certainly thought I had the talent, even I did; they also gave me the resources. What stood between myself and the Olympics? Confidence
In high school I was bullied so much that it destroyed my sense of self and my ego. Up to second year, there were times when I was even suicidal. Bullying can destroy a person. But with the right support, time and reconstruction of self-belief systems it can be overcome.
Confidence was lacking while I was in University. Ten years later and after the Anthony Robbins seminar, “Unleash the Power Within” I have reconstructed my self-confidence and have tools to use when I end up using self-defeating mantras. I also know that I have very loving friends, family and co-workers.
With a deep rooted belief in myself, my abilities and my physical training knowledge (as a Kinesiologist and an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist) I set what some of my colleagues thought was an unattainable goal of a 35-minute Grouse Grind about seven weeks ago.
Starting at 53 minutes, I knew I had a long way to go. But I also knew what my body was capable of doing. I want to be among the elite in Vancouver doing the Grouse Grind – to have the sense of accomplishment.
My goal was set – I had the talent, leadership (self), confidence, knowledge and plan. I shared what I wanted to do with my friends, my family and the world via Twitter and Facebook. I had the support of everyone I connected with, including Jean-Michel who lent me his Speed Training parachutes (what a rush). The goal was public; now I was committed. I was unwavering in reaching for this. The first big hurdle was to see the:”39″ by my 33rd birthday. Today – 39:56min!
When you do something different or are different, some will try to cut your tree down — “tall poppy syndrome” — and those who don’t believe in you. Before others will believe in you, you must believe in yourself. Keep those roots strong and deep within yourself. Develop a strong core-belief system like a big round oak tree.
Keep learning and keep celebrating the small steps take you towards your goal. Make sure that your goal is something that you are deeply passionate about, something that connects to your values, something that you will not let go.
After each step, take a moment to re-evaluate. Are you on the right path? When there is a roadblock re-evaluate the path, not the goal. Maybe there is another way that you can reach it?
On the way home from each Grouse Grind and after each training session I was always reviewing with these two questions: “What did I do that helped me succeed?” and, “What did I do today that prevented me from having greater success?”
Today I pulled everything together. My mental focus started yesterday. I knew that in order for me to achieve a 39-minute Grind I had to be prepared, but I also had to focus on the process. My attention was was on how fast to move my legs, what my target heart rate was, what line I was taking, how I was going to be, what mantras I was going to use during the way up, not on the time. When your focus is on the process, time takes care of itself (we can not stop it or speed it up).
During the summer I discovered by reading and implementing Dr. Saul Miller’s book “Why Teams Win,” that Preparation + Talent + Leadership = Confidence = Success.
I put everything I had physically and mentally on the line today so that I could say at the top, “I pushed as hard and as smartly as I could today!” and smile. Always smile; enjoy life for what it brings and what you bring to it.
If you are lacking confidence – start by doing small things that you are pretty sure you can succeed at. When you do, try something a little more outside of your comfort zone. With each successive success you will gradually build more confidence.
I am confident that I can hit my target of a 35-minute Grouse Grind by the end of the season and be in the elite group by next year. This will only happen when I execute the plan.
Plan, execute the plan, review the plan, repeat.
This new confidence helps me show up better in my sessions with clients and during other business activities.
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Alfred Ball – Grouse Grind Fanatic, New Yogi