I have been a big fan of the athletics coach, Frank Dick for a very long time. His famous speech that references Valley people and Mountain people is a powerful metaphor. If you haven’t heard it, I recommend you do. In today’s parlance, it picks up the difference between the mindsets of abundance (Mountain people) and scarcity (Valley people). For Mountain people, life is full of opportunity and possibility. They live for the test of change and enjoy the resilience required to bounce back from the bumps and bruises that come with the mountain territory. Whereas with the Valley people, the concept of achievement is not losing, so playing for the draw to them is all that’s needed. Their idea of fitness is being fit to survive.
These binary terms, I feel, are not so helpful in the world we meet today. I meet people who oscillate between these different states, which in itself feels exhausting. The incessant desire to achieve and be seen to be having your “Best Life” is causing tremendous FOMO anxiety. Having recently provided content in a Clubhouse conversation that explored how people maintain motivation to keep fit, I was struck by a couple of thoughts.Firstly, it was the need for external accountability to encourage people to train and secondly, the assumption about the desire to compete. I notice that a huge amount of fitness motivation is predicated on becoming “more competitive”, i.e., the desire to see how much better you are against random strangers and that being the measure of success. There were lots of other great and interesting tips and ideas on the chat which all of which made sense, but ultimately and here is the rub, the externalised incessant pressure to turn up and then beat others is simply not sustainable. What happens when the external accountability stops, or you get beaten by faster runners? Do you stop, or can you keep going? There will always be someone better, faster, stronger!
It appears to me that it is far more sustainable to link motivation to how you “perform” against your ownstandards and goals, at whatever level that may be. I have long recognised that externally driven motivation is a rocky road. At the heart of any happy person I meet is the contentment that they are satisfied in themselves.
It is the balance between understanding the value and distance of the journey they have made so far, combined with an appropriate optimism regarding what is still to come. In short, there is “Balanced Purpose”. “Success”, if you want to call it that, then becomes normalised, as it is just how they “are”, rather than something that happens on occasions when pushed to do so. As you can imagine, this makes the idea of“going for a run” natural and QED they do more running and now you are in a virtuous cycle.
The coach’s role is to shine a light on these areas and help the coachee recognise the value of looking up the mountain and identify what is important to them personally and recognise the journey taken so far. Add this to pinpointing what are the steps they can and want to take to move forward and you have a useful model. I recently picked up a new Frank Dick quote, which I think brings us full circle.“Great coaching is far more than guiding athletes to be better than they are. It is first in guiding them to understand who they can become; next to believe that they can achieve that; then to take ownership themselves of getting there.”
If you would value some performance coaching to help you on your journey, I would only be too happy to help – Contact me through www.RocketCoach.co.ukBest Wishes & Stay Safe
Uncategorised | Permalink | Leave a comment | Posted 8th March 2021 by Ian Howell
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