Enjoying The Journey

I try to read various non-fiction books regularly to be a better human being but probably even more so to be the best coach I can be.  One thing about coaching that I learned early on was to steal – perhaps borrow is the more friendly term – from others.  Give credit when due, but see what the best are doing and whenever it makes sense for you, apply it.

One theme that I keep seeing across the board, whether it’s strength coach Dan John, basketball coach John Wooden, football coach Jim Tressel, writer Dani Shapiro or MMA Fighter Ronda Rousey, is that of The Process.  I feel that theme is an important component of how I want coach people.  Here’s a little of what each person mentioned above had to say:

Shapiro said “Remember that this moment, this day, is one stitch in a tapestry of days. Remember that you cannot – should not – see the shape unfolding before you.”

Both Coach Wooden and Coach John refer to the Cervantes quote “The journey is better than the inn.”  Wooden goes on to say that “Your journey is the important thing.  A score, a trophy, a ribbon is simply the inn.”  Both coaches agree that preparation is where all of the lessons are learned, relationships made and hard work done.

Coach Tressel suggests that “We should celebrate milestones and important days but the key to a successful life is in the journey and the process.  Our day to day is the journey as compared to the more relatively infrequent days to celebrate an important event or accomplishment.”

Ronda Rousey suggests that “Most people focus on the wrong thing: They focus on the result, not the process.  The process is the sacrifice; it is all the hard parts – the sweat, the pain, the tears, the losses.  You make the sacrifices anyway.  You learn to enjoy them, or at least embrace them, in the end, it is the sacrifices that must fulfill you.”

So how might this all apply to  you?  Well, often times just getting started is the hardest part.  Just look to accumulate small accomplishments along the road and you may be able to get that momentum rolling.  Just a little bit and little better every day.  Or, maybe you’ve recently completed some serious dieting or training.  A challenge perhaps.  Well, what next?  For several reasons it may not be the time to keep going so “hardcore”.  For now change the focus to the long term process and not the next 60 days of insanity.  Learn a little, enjoy your training on a daily basis and those that you train with.  To give another example, I can share with you my experience in Highland Games.  For my first few years I saw massive improvements on a regular basis.  Life was great as I was regularly getting noticeably better.  Well, improvement doesn’t continue linearly.  Personal records are now much harder to come by.  So, I have two choices.  Quit because it’s hard and unsatisfying that I don’t improve on a regular basis.  Or, enjoy the process and satisfaction that comes from hard work in a sport that I love.  As stated earlier, this is where all of the lessons are learned, relationships made and hard work done.  Although The Process itself may not always be easy, for me the choice is.

Think big picture instead of quick fix.  Take a deep breath, smile, look around and enjoy The Process.

– Mike Baltren