Thursday, February 19, 2009

Creating a Recipe for Success

Creating a recipe for success is not simple. It generally takes a lot of planning and adjustment to get it right. This past weekend when I was in Missouri I talked with a sports psychologist from the US Olympic committee about my experience in Beijing. Jim, the psychologist, and I discussed many things but one thing really stood out to to create a recipe for success based upon past triumph.

Jim knew I was really into food and cooking which is why he chose this particular example. He asked me to think of my favorite food recipe. We wrote down the ingredients, how much of each, the preparation and how to cook it. Then he asked me if the recipe will come out the same way every time. My answer was yes because I'm doing the same thing every time. He asked me how it could be different. Well it could be different if you didn't use the same amount of something, if you added something new, if you cooked it differently or maybe one of the ingredients was not as fresh as the last time you cooked it.

Once we finished the food recipe we went on and looked at my recipe for success at the Olympic trials. What were the ingredients? How had I prepared? What was my mental state like? Some of the ingredients included stretching, drinking electrolyte water, listening to my coaches Eddie and Kris, minimizing walking and staying strict to my diet. Jim and I discussed why or how I thought each of these things impacted my success. Another important aspect we evaluated was how I dealt with the thrill of going best times and winning in Omaha and how I kept my focus.

Now onto Beijing. What was the recipe? How did it differ from what I had done a month earlier? Here are some examples. My diet was a bit different because I was eating only what was available to me not what I made available to myself. My diet was still good but not quite the same level of consistency as it had been simply due to being in different environments and having different food. I walked a ton more leading up the Olympics and at the Olympics (this was just a part of life in and around the choice). Travel was much more extensive while including a couple huge time changes. I was no longer on only my schedule but the schedule of my team.

The difficulty is figuring out how these differences may have affected me. Without a doubt my recipe was different for Beijing than it was for Omaha. My question is how do I deal with this in the future? One of the beautiful things about cooking is changing a recipe a little and seeing if it comes out better than it was before. I'm not so sure this is the same for athletics. Either way, my plan is to go back and study the recipes I've created in the past that led me to my greatest successes. In my mind there is no choice but to figure out how to do it better next time. I need to prepare myself so that even if there are differences, my recipe has been made to accommodate those differences and still produce the same delicious and satisfying result as before.

This example holds true for anything in our lives whether it be writing a good paper, dealing with crisis or making a killer sale. Once we figure out how we were successful in the first place, we can duplicate this. Then, although the circumstances will be different, we have a better chance at success for the future.


Donna Binkholder said...

How true this blog is. Everyone can take this a incorporate it into their lives. I can take this and incorporate into my track stuff. I have a competition Saturday at Mizzou. Am I neverous? Yes. Am I ready for this? Yes. Do I have a positive attiude? Yup and I figure I need that because if I don't there's no point in me going because I will lose. I always loving reading your blogs because they are always inspiring!!! Thanks for taking the time to write these blogs for us.

J said...

Yeah, I kind of like that outlook on life. To stand back from the other side for a moment, and figure the recipe that created the success in the first place. I am working on school project, and have been racking my brain for ideas. Something you mentioned if the blog today, "creating the sucess for a paper" really made a point. Sit down, reevaluate, and think about the plan and factors to make it work!

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