Your Celebrating Success Checklist

Looking back over the last few years I noticed a trend…

I am dreadful at celebrating my successes. I know when I have done well – or not – so any reflection on my success is often fleeting at best, although usually non-existent.

It has taken some serious soul-searching to work out why I don’t make time to stop and celebrate my achievements, whether they’re big or small. To be honest, I think it’s because I’m so single-minded and focused on reaching my next goal, I didn’t think it really mattered.

But it does. And, I’ve since learnt why.

So, I want to share with you two recent achievements.

Last weekend I raced at Devonport in Tasmania at my first Triathlon World Cup Event. There was a brutal headwind on the bike and it felt like the bike wanted to roll backward on the way out and wanted to take off on the way back in. I had a clear race plan which I executed (almost) perfectly; a little mistake – not putting my helmet in the box in transition – resulted in a 10-second penalty. Everything else went to plan and I won. I love the rush and tingles I get grabbing the ribbon as I cross the finish line. It is very rare to run the almost perfect race and it’s the best feeling when you truly feel like you had a good race. After all, that’s why I do it.

So, having made a conscious decision to begin celebrating my successes, I took a moment after the race to do just that. The event organisers handed out bottles of champagne to crack open on the podium. It evoked images of Formula 1 drivers and Tour de France winners, and I thought if they can do it, so can I. So I did! And loved it. I was able to live out a childhood dream!

Why did I celebrate this time over other races? Because since having my son Olek, I’ve been able to appreciate the small things more and because crossing the finish line I truly felt happy with the race and the result.

Another success would have to be the race in Melbourne. it was not so much about the race result, but it was running down the finishing chute and Hi-fiving my son Olek.I felt so proud being able to share my race with Olek for the first time. I want Olek to be able to look up to me no matter the results are, and that success takes many forms – including being there for the people you love and sharing special moments in time with them.

Here are just a few of the reasons I’m now celebrating my successes:

It’s worth sharing!

It isn’t necessarily just about you. Give others a chance to share your achievements with you. For the few or the many who helped you get where you are today. Your success can mean just as much to the people around you, sometimes more.

Also, what you do may inspire others who are facing a similar challenge. Seeing you show up, give it a go and even conquer the seemingly impossible may give someone else the confidence to tackle their challenge head on.

It feels good…so good!

When we celebrate our success the brain releases a chemical called dopamine which makes us feel good, and it makes us want more. So, set some small and big goals and see how you go. It could be as simple as writing a to-do list and crossing the completed tasks off the list, giving you many many opportunities to celebrate success. But be careful – dopamine is addictive – you might just find yourself setting and achieving more goals than ever before!

Repurpose

As the saying goes “success leaves clues.”

Learn from what works and why; see if you can replicate this and put it to use to achieve another.

Celebrate success, no matter how great or small, as your sense of accomplishment will not only make you feel good and more confident but will propel you toward your next goal.

Mindset

Celebrating success – take stock of what you have done well. Cultivate this mindset by focusing on the positive. We all get so caught up in the negatives of life and business; what we can improve upon and what we can do better. But, even more, powerful than this is focusing on what works well and celebrating a win — Builds self-belief etc.

Don’t let your next success pass you by. Pause, Reflect, Celebrate. You deserve it!

We all fall down. What matters most is what you choose to do next.

On Sunday my training program was a long run – 12 km along the Coast from Scarborough to Hillarys and back. I woke to every muscle in my body aching. A run was the last thing I felt like doing.

I was at a decision-point. I had options – we all do. I could stay in bed or I could silence the aches and pains and get on with it. I made my choice and eventually summoned the will to drag myself outside to start the session.

I had just returned from my race in Melbourne and it had been an intense week of training. I knew I was tired and distracted. Not concentrating while running is not a good idea, especially for me! Despite knowing this only minutes later I tripped. I managed to catch myself with both hands and narrowly avoided smacking my face into the ground. People nearby gasped; it wasn’t a pretty sight. I don’t fall gracefully. But, I picked myself up and continued running.

About a kilometre later I felt the toe of my blade clip the ground. This time I wasn’t so lucky and landed flat on my face again in front of a new group of onlookers. It’s still a little embarrassing every time I stack it even though I’ve done it 100’s of times and people kinda freeze in shock not quite sure what the correct response is.  

I was at another decision-point. The easy option was pack up and go home. But it’s what I did next that matters most. You see, one of my greatest strengths is my stubbornness. I never take the easy option and I just don’t know how to quit. So, I collected my thoughts, centred myself – physically and mentally – and started running again.

I ended up tripping myself a total of five times that day. Each time becoming more frustrated and furious. But, I got back up six times and finished the 12 km run.

Even a bad day counts.

Falling is frustrating and it can hurt. And, you don’t need to be running to fall or stumble, it can happen anywhere, anytime. It can happen at home, at work or in between. It can impact family, friends, colleagues, strangers or just ourselves. But falling doesn’t have to be negative.

I truly believe falling is part of the journey. Own it. But then let it go. The fall shouldn’t be the focus. What you choose to do next, is. Whatever happens, it’s only a setback if you quit. Pick yourself up and keep going because there is no better way to prepare for tomorrow – the next fall but also the next success – than to challenge yourself today.

You can either make excuses or you can find a way to pick yourself up and keep going. I choose the latter.

It is what you do next that matters most.

 

What will you do next?

Handling the Unexpected

I was laying on the bed trying to sleep when I remembered what the triathlon race official said during the briefing, “Don’t worry the swim won’t get cancelled”.

I think it was the certainty in the race official’s voice over something he had no control that made me took notice, and somehow assured me that despite the lightning cracking and how heavy the rain was pouring outside I could sleep soundly for the remainder of the night.

I woke up to my alarm yelling at me at 4 AM. I reached for my phone to turn off the alarm then noticed a text message saying that due to poor water quality the swim section of the race is cancelled.

Swimming is my strength. It’s where I get the lead in most races, so how can it be cancelled when I was assured last night that it won’t? The lack of swim will play out to the advantage of my competition. What part of the race can I trim my time to get back my advantage… I had to stop myself before my head spiralled out of control.

The world we live in is flooded with incorrect information and unexpected changes, and we can’t plan for every scenario or remove all the risks.

But if we can’t predict what will happen tomorrow, how do we prepare? We prepare to be unprepared.

When faced with the unexpected:

Stop what you are doing and take a moment to think before the negative self-thought kicks in and your mind spirals out of control.

The morning of the race I did precisely this. I stopped myself from overthinking and instead looked back at the training that I did, and I knew it would be enough for the extra 2.5 km run in this race.

Take a look at the actual options available. Don’t think about the what if’s. Look at your options and decide on the best one.

My best option was to be optimistic and knew that I had done more work in the pre-season.

Run with it, based on the information you have available. Make a decision and commit to it. Then keep moving forward.

I knew I had done the work and that running an extra 2.5 km is well within my training limits. Which gave me the confidence to go out and race my way finishing ahead of my competition and becoming Oceana Champion.

You don’t need to be running the race of your life, representing Australia, for this to work. You can prepare for the unexpected in everyday life! When you are faced with the unexpected, take a moment to breathe. Luckily, we are rarely faced with life and
death decisions, therefore remember – you always have time to stop and think.

Then, take a step back and review. What do you know about the situation? What is within your control and what isn’t? What have you done to prepare for this exact moment? I knew I had run a lot further than 7.5 km in training. Once you have taken a moment to think this through, you will quickly realise you are better prepared than you imagined. I was running 45 km every week in the lead up to the race and knew how to pace myself. Maybe you’ve been in a similar situation before; maybe your strengths allow you to handle this situation well, maybe you are surrounded by people who can help and guide you.

Then, bring all of this together and pick the best option for the situation. This might not be the best option that ever existed, but it might be the best available on the day. I kept myself positive and optimistic and trusted the work my coach and I had put in the pre-season. Sometimes, the best option is staying positive and knowing that your experience – whatever that may be – will allow you to handle the unexpected.

And remember, once you have worked this through – whether it takes you a split second or a day – just take one step forward. Because, often that one step allows for a different perspective and all of sudden, things look different. Because a decision is no good without action. It is what you do next that matters most.

A bonus was this was the fastest I’ve ever started a season finishing the race in 1 hour 14 minutes and 49 seconds which is a time I would typically only achieve at the peak, not the start of my race season.

The unexpected can be jarring and can put you off your track, but once you start preparing to be unprepared, for the unforeseen, it makes for an exciting 2018.

Reach until it’s uncomfortable

Uncomfortable Moments.

I’m standing here bracing myself for the impact…

Sweat beading and rolling down the side of my face…

There’s a bang as a foot connects with the soccer ball and launches it into the air.

I reach out… stretch as far as I can, but it’s not enough and the ball flies past my hand, just out of reach of my fingertips.

uncomfortable moments

It’s the uncomfortable moments in life we remember not the easy ones.

When your time’s up you won’t lay there reminiscing the easy moments.

The fond memories will be the uncomfortable moments.

The moments in life that challenged you, the moments were you are at the edge of what you thought was possible which forced you to be better.

Appreciate the uncomfortable now… not when it’s too late.

Why NoXcuses?

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Why NoXcuses?

[/vc_column_text][divider line_type=”Small Line” line_thickness=”2″ divider_color=”accent-color” animate=”yes” custom_height=”50″ custom_line_width=”80″][vc_column_text]Obviously because I can’t spell.

Let’s start with a simple idea… What could you achieve if you stop making excuses? And I’m not talking about all the excuses we make daily, just that one excuse. Imagine what can you accomplish if you stop making that one debilitating excuse?

Being born with one leg, people made assumptions of what I could and couldn’t do. They were deciding for me of what was and wasn’t possible, even before I even had the chance to try it.

I didn’t know it at the time, but these assumptions were rubbing off on me and I started to believe those excuses as truths.

In 2013 I had a mental shift. I no longer wanted to accept these excuses as truths. I wanted to discover for myself if something was truly impossible, by trying everything I could to prove it wrong. This was when I adopted no excuses as my personal motto.

If I thought of doing something and my initial reaction was no I can’t do that with one leg, I immediately reposition that reaction from a hard no, to a possibility by setting it as a new challenge. Something that I had to conquer. Whether it was the CrossFit games, my first triathlon, getting sponsored as a disabled athlete, my first Ironman triathlon or the Paralympic Games, my mentality was — challenge accepted!

What is one excuse that you need to stop making?  I’m too old? I don’t have time? I don’t have the money?

No excuses and never quit not ever…[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

It’s What You Do Next That Matters.

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It’s What You Do Next That Matters.

[/vc_column_text][divider line_type=”Small Line” line_thickness=”2″ divider_color=”accent-color” animate=”yes” custom_height=”50″ custom_line_width=”80″][vc_column_text]When most people think of a commercial, they think of selling a product. However, the process of filming the HBF commercial felt more like making a movie. The amount of work, time and energy that was dedicated to creating this story was stunning. Shooting for 22 hours to create one minute of content, and seeing the sheer amount of people working to capture the perfect moment is the most amazing organized chaos I’ve ever seen. In front of the camera it was just me. But behind the scenes, there were so many people giving it their all to make sure everything was in place.

What struck me most was the willingness to take it to another level. The things that made this shoot challenging was also what made it so extraordinary. The vision was to create a more natural campaign. It allowed me to tell my story, and share what happened in Rio. I loved this opportunity; however it was also a challenge to appear completely natural. My past work with advertising has been very hyped up. Speaking as though I was simply having a conversation with a friend might have sounded easy; but it was something new for me. I found it difficult, but it gave me the chance to step out of my comfort zone.

Working with an amazing crew, doing take after take, trying to capture just the perfect moment really motivated me to give it my all. Not only are we telling a powerful story, the entirety of the HBF commercial felt like cinematography. To be involved with this production was an absolute honour. I look forward to doing more in the future.

For me, the takeaway is to never hesitate to try something new. I loved doing something different than what I am used to. Never stop testing what you’re capable of. It might take a while to find your footing, but the benefit of what you will achieve is beyond compare. Telling the story of my dream turned into a nightmare is just another reminder to always keep going. In Rio, the race had finished, but my story wasn’t over. Getting back on the horse after you’ve fallen off is the most important thing you can do.

The experience in Rio may be one of the biggest setbacks I had to overcome, but the real race has just begun. Tokyo is only 3 years away and I’ve never been happier to return to my training. In life, the past doesn’t have to define you. It’s what you do next that matters.[/vc_column_text][divider line_type=”No Line”][vc_video link=”https://youtu.be/a5NK0LNrUHM”][/vc_column][/vc_row]