Process …

Every once in a while something happens that causes us to pause for thought. It doesn’t matter how exciting or mundane one’s life is, there’s always a moment of clarity. For some, it’s a daily affair; for others it’s a less regular occurrence.

I’m an athlete, of sorts. My body is a temple, but you can still find some bits that need to be cleaned up. I need to rethink how to keep the temple clean and tidy. I go training, I get lessons from a coach, and I aim to deliver results to the best of my ability. By no means, however, am I an elite athlete. But that’s a different discussion.

Back to my point about thinking … and process. Today I was in the fortunate position of surpassing my expectations, and those of quite a few others. I found myself on a podium with no steps – it’s OK, as I would have been on the lowest one. I was puffed and chuffed with my success.

But, at one point, I had to hit the locker room and dispense some words of wisdom to a young athlete who was desperate to do well. He’d fallen short of his lofty ambitions for the day and was on his way home.

Life is brutal like that. We each have a place we expect to be; a height we aim to reach. And then we find that we slip or fall, and end up somewhere else.

Later, in the pub, myself and the lads got together over a rare pint – lemonade and J20 for me; my lack of alcohol having less to do with my newly acquired athlete status than the possibility of random Drugs & Alcohol testing. It seems that alcohol and train stations, if one is working at the latter, do not mix. But again, I digress.

Discussing the performances of myself and others later, I was compelled to observe the following:

1) There is a difference between working towards a goal and simply chasing one

2) If you continue to put the work in, the results will come; if you just chase what’s in front of you, you are likely to just get frustrated

3) No matter what field one may be in, results are about engaging with a process

4) Giving up because one performs below par is a bit like refusing to use a knife for fear of cutting oneself

When all is said and done, life is for the living. Wherever it takes us, we must engage with the process. Aspiration and inspiration come from the process – either because we’ve engaged, or because we’ve seen the results of those who chose to follow through.

Even for the rebels, there is a process. Don’t just chase the shadows. Put the work in. Hold on to the lofty ideals. Be the champion you set yourself to be, or get as close to it as possible. Resolve to challenge your fears. You can only win or lose. Failure to face up to the challenge is always a losing position.