Monday, November 10, 2008

Motivation in Unique Ways


I took this picture of the scoreboard during the final of the 50 Freestyle of the Beijing Olympics. Unfortunately I was in the stands taking this picture because I failed to qualify for the final of the 50 free just as I did for the 100 free. Both were huge disappointments for me not only because I had high expectations of winning medals, but because I felt like I let America down in not representing better. It wasn't until I actually got to the Olympics that I realized how meaningful it was to wear the American flag on my cap. Unfortunately this time around I was not able to wear that flag for what would have been the two most important individual swims of my life:(

As I snapped this picture I had an empty feeling inside me. A feeling of disarray that I still don't know how to best describe or make sense of. There have been few times in my swimming career when I honestly have no idea what happened at a particular meet. Generally I can always pinpoint things that went wrong, reasons why I didn't perform like I wanted to, or reasons why I swam unbelievable. Watching that 50 free final and even today I don't know what happened in my individual races at the Olympics? I wasn't nervous, I was well prepared, I stayed on my strict diet as best I could, I wasn't sick, my races were swum to the best of my ability at that time...I just didn't have it, what I had just wasn't enough. It's crazy for me to say that because that's one of the few times, if not the only time, I can say I did everything right I possibly could and just didn't have what it took to get the job done.

The interesting thing about swimming and I think life in general, is that we don't need to know all the answers, at least not right away. I'm content for right now not knowing what went wrong. I know in time, like everything else, I will figure this out and do it better next time. My mom always tells me, "everything happens for a reason." I completely believe this. For now, I just don't know the reason.

I didn't know specifically what I would use this picture for at the time, but I needed to take it because somehow down the road it would fuel my fire. I knew I was going to look at it in the future and become motivated by it. Last night I was preparing for my first morning practice of this new season. I hate morning practice. It isn't the swimming I hate, it isn't event he early wake-up I hate. I hate diving into that cold water. If you tell me to wake up at 5:45am and lift weights or run or bike I would say, great. However, that cold water does something to my mind that is just not good.

So last night I knew what I had to do. I hung this picture of the 50 free final in my bathroom. I understand this is a bit more detail than might be needed but I need to tell you the truth. The bathroom is the point during every early morning when I say to myself, "I hate morning practice." This is when I need the motivation. This morning I looked to my right and instead of saying, "I hate morning practice," I said, "%#@* that, I don't ever want to miss another final again." It was just what I needed to wake myself up and get my mind ready and excited for the morning practice I had ahead of me. I urge all of you to motivate yourself in unique ways. Do something different, find things that work for you. I find the best motivation comes in little instances I know I will need a helping hand!

32 comments:

Blake said...

it's hard for me to find motivation early in the mornings. I have to remember what I want to accomplish and that always seems to help me. I want to be a better triathlete and I know that I have to work hard to reach my goals. Thanks for sharing what motivates you.

Mark said...

Wow. That's awesome. It's great you can be so honest and express yourself in such a meaningful way.

Garrett said...

Remembering the big goal is very important to staying motivated. I'm glad I can share my unique tactics with ya'll.

Lauren Ashley said...

Wow... it's actually an honor to know you're willing to share blog posts like this with us... not just about the unique motivation techniques, but about how you felt not making the finals in Beijing. :)

I understand on a small scale what you mean, not making it as far as you would have liked, as far as you knew at the time you could make it, but your mom is a wise woman. Everything DOES happen for a reason - the most aggravating part of that saying is that we don't always get to know the reason. DX

But you didn't let America down!! You did well in your other races - and who could forget the epic win against France?? Sure, Lezak pulled it out at the end, but that whole race was all of you working together, and you were a part of that, so don't think you've let us down! :) You're there, representing, and that in and of itself is an awesome achievement. Keep it up, and motivate yourself however you see fit! :)

Noeline said...

When you don't win an olympic medal, I think Americans should be proud that you tried, period. Drop the burden of feeling that you let them down and you'll be flying like a butterfly on water! :)

Koskenkorva said...

It takes a big man to write something like this. I believe you can achieve your goals. I'll keep my fingers crossed.

Sparkl0413 said...

GWG in 2012 for the win!
I find sometimes we tend to be harder on ourselves then we really need to be. As long as the people who matter in your life are proud of you and you are proud of yourself you can't go wrong. So like Jordan Sparks says take it /one step at a time/ all the early mornings will be worth it in the end.

Garrett said...

I'm so happy all of you enjoy reading about the way I motivate myself as well as how I felt in Beijing.

Thanks a lot for the encouragement. It is tough to think about some of the emotions I felt in Beijing because they are so deranged and complex... I know if I keep working and stay positive I will put myself in a good position to do something special.

bettyboop said...

Hi, Garrett...as I've told you before, I really enjoy reading your blog...beside your swimming and cooking skills, you are also blessed for a another natural talent! You have an excellent writing skills...you are honest, sincere and there is something in your writing that anyone can relate to...yes, we do ask ourselves what happened? and eventually we get our answers, but in the meantime, life goes on...it has to go on...we find our motivation and we move on ahead with positive attitude and with a new sense of strength...my dear Garrett, keep on smiling, swimming, cooking and writing for us:) I'll be watching you ...bettyboop...lol

Miss Melanie said...

As a believer in and follower of Jesus Christ, I have found this verse to be a great motivator:

Colossians 3:17, 23-24:
“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him…Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men…It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”

I am also motivated by a spirit of thankfulness. I am not a morning person at all. But when I'm leaving for work in the morning, I thank God that I have a job to get up for. I thank Him for a truck to get to work, for the money to pay for gas, for the skills to earn money.

crystal said...

i believe things happen for a reason too. it's frustrating not being able to understand *why* when you're going over what went wrong, piece by piece. but it will all work out eventually. as for why you didn't qualify, i have no idea. hearing you talk about what it felt like and what was going on in your head, i have to admit, broke my heart because it really gives me a glimpse into what that part of competition is like. and you didn't let america down, we're behind you 100%. but like you said, sometimes things just happen. i DO know that you're going to work hard and dedicate the next years to doing everything better, and working harder, and be stronger. and THAT to me, is motivation and dedication.

donna said...

This is so true. I have a picture of the Olympic winner in shot put gold medal 20.4m. Her name is Valerie Vii hanging on my wall. This picture I look at everyday and see what I have to beat. I know what I have to do to get the job done. I remember that I have to get up early to do what I have to do and remember what I have to beat.

Garrett said...

wow you guys have really insightful and encouraging comments! I love the feedback I'm getting from all of you.

It is really fun for me to share my experiences with others. I'm sure many of you have not heard much in-depth emotion from an athletes perspective.

This blog will continue giving ya'll this type of insight into my world!

Lauren Ashley said...

Thus, we will continue reading!! :)

sparkl0413 said...

Hey hope day two in the pool is twice as good as day one was. Happy Veteran's Day by the way. I'm off to get ready for work.
Laters
*twitter is Devious_Midget in cause anyone wants to follow.

Liza said...

Garrett, I totally understand the things you need to do to get motivated for something that is truly important to you. Things do happen for a reason and that's what I tell myself everyday. I have my list of goals set for the next 2 years and look at it when I need the extra motivation. And prayer helps a whole lot. You are great at what you do. My friends and I will be looking out for you in future races. You can do this.

Liza said...

Garrett, I totally understand the things you need to do to get motivated for something that is truly important to you. Things do happen for a reason and that's what I tell myself everyday. I have my list of goals set for the next 2 years and look at it when I need the extra motivation. And prayer helps a whole lot. You are great at what you do. My friends and I will be looking out for you in future races. You can do this.

Garrett said...

practicing twice yesterday was tiring but good for me!

Staying positive is definitely the right way to go.

Nicole said...

This blog is amazing! I love reading it and knowing what it takes to be the best.

delia said...

It is amazing to be able to come and read how you are mentally preparing yourself and everything you are doing to make your dreams come true!!! It is also great to see how honest about your feelings and emotions you are, and how you are tying to turn something bad into the motivation and fuel you need to keep going. Life is not always easy and we dont always get what we want or even what we work hard for and think we rightfully deserve, yes everything happens for a reason and like you said at the time you didnt know why you were not on that final or what the picture was going to do down the road for you.... but maybe that is what needed to happen for you to realize how bad you want it, to work even harder to get to the top and to stay motivated... haha even for those early morning practices!!!!

Don't you ever say that you let USA or us down because you didn't!! it was a joy to watch you swim and i can't wait to see what's in the future for you, trust me.... i know you will make it to the top

much love!!!!

Garrett said...

I think it is important for me to share my experiences with all of you so that you can learn and understand what my life is like.

I love learning about new things...I hope through this blog we can all learn from each other.

Miss Melanie said...

We'll all look forward to pics from the Golden Goggles awards (10k a table - yikes!), and hearing what you had for dinner on Sunday with the fam!

You are among friends here!

Rosie said...

I loved this post, thanks for sharing! It's good to have these little reminders and motivators around and in your face everyday to stay on top of your game.

It reminds me of this little map of Los Angeles I had on my wall for years. I grew up in Northern California and always wanted moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in the entertainment business, so one day I tore a map of Los Angeles out of this book I had and wrote January 14th, 2002 on it. I'm happy to report that I did move to LA on January 14th, 2002 and 6 years later I am still working in the entertainment industry. It may seem trivial to some people but it really helped me prepare myself for that next step.

Thanks again for sharing, I always enjoy reading this blog. :)



*Sadly, I lost that beloved, old tattered map of Los Angeles when I moved to a new apartment about 2 years ago but I think about it all the time. So keep good track of your picture of that scoreboard!

Garrett said...

Golden Goggles is going to be so much fun!

Wow that is a great story about the move to LA. That is exactly the kind of stuff I like to hear. You wanted to do something, made up your mind to do it, completed your goal! Congrats.

Alix said...

That's a great photo and an awesome motivational tactic.

And it may be TMI, but it seems more tasteful than one of your competitors. :)

Garrett said...

I don't know who you're referring to?

What I do to get better solely focuses on me and not anyone else.

Rosie said...

Thanks, I really liked seeing your picture of motivation as well :)

Will you be entering any competitions in the next few months?

Coach Ky said...

GWG - We had Sectionals for WIAA last weekend and I have been coaching for 18 years. I have seen a great deal in that time. But for the first time ever I had two girls cry tears of joy based off they performed. Both set school records in the process and qualified for State.

Our sport has tons of highs and tons of lows; so I had to impress on them to capture that feeling of success and remember what it took to get there because there will be down days/swims and you need to regenerate the focus and feeling that got you to the tears of joy.

And in the case of Saturday, I had to remind them to not lose all the energy and to quickly refoucs on the next three swims that they had coming up in the same meet.

Garrett said...

I will be swimming at US Nationals in Atlanta.

That's wonderful to hear about your swimmers. I'm really happy they had such a great experience. Good advice you gave them. It's always important to remember what you've done and what it took to get there. There will definitely be good and bad times to come. They will always look back at that experience and learn from it.

Meredith Vinger-Roach said...

Garrett,
I loved this blog! If you haven't read it (it's a classic) pic up a copy of Shakti Gawain's Creative Visualization at Half Priced Books. It literally changed my life. It teaches various techniques for manifesting your goals. I read it 13 years ago and decided to test it out. I picked my most hopeless yet desperately desired goal - to get Jack Roach to notice me as more than a friend/dog-sitter! This is not a joke, I swear. Well, here we are, 10 years later happily married. It only took me about 3 years to chase him down. Luckily for you you've got a bit more time before 2012! Keep up the great work buddy!

Garrett said...

Meredith,
That post made my day! Can I tell Jack you said that? I'm sure we would have a great laugh together hahha. Thanks for the advice about the book...

Jeff Lee said...

I think our general hate of morning practices comes from just plain being paranoid(i've heard americans as a whole being edgy about our sleep). When I used to swim I related morning practices to schoolwork or sleeping someway somehow. I remember reading in splash or some article about mike bottom(?)[a sprinter from a long time ago for sure] that said he worried so much on how many hours he slept the night before trials and let it get to him during the race itself. Me personally, even while I was swimming, I always had at least one night of the week where I slept very little or had a bunch of schoolwork and just dreaded the morning practice next day because in the back of my mind I was already thinking "this is not going to be a good one so let's just try to get over with it"( and then skipping morning practice wouldn't put your mind at ease either because you can't just make it up:( ). Practices scheduled in the afternoon or even on saturday morning where they were only 2 hours later in the day, I'd never have that mentality.


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