When you declare that you want something and then ask for support and guidance what may seem impossible becomes believable and then a series of seemingly random events get linked together and your goal becomes real. When that happens, you achieve your goal. It is a simple yet powerful process. Folks who follow quantum physics know all about this. We don’t claim to understand it very well but we do believe that we alter and ultimately create our reality.
Elizabeth was a 2:18 200 yard butterflyer in September. She trained reasonably well and by December she swam 2:12. She was pleased with her drop. She then proceeded to drop some more and in March narrowly missed getting her Orlando NSCA cut. She swam 2:08. The cut was 2:06.
In late March we asked her a question. We first told her that we believed she could swim a 2:06. She nodded her head and said that so did she. We asked her would she declare that she was all in? We said that if she did that we would work with her to make that cut. We forewarned her that her declaration would have consequences. We would hold her to a higher standard. She would need to rearrange her priorities. She would need to make some sacrifices so that swim training came before other things, except for school. We asked her to think about it and let us know. Either way was fine by us but if she wanted the cut we would be all in as well.
Nearly two weeks later she came and announced she was in. We asked her to tell her parents so they would know as well. It is important to have the whole support team know about the goal and be all in as well. She said she would. Soon thereafter we had a brief conversation with her Dad confirming her intentions.
We all rolled up our sleeves and went to work. In May at the end of the high school season she took a shot in both the 100 and 200. She missed the 100 by a tenth and the 200 by slightly more. Undeterred – Elizabeth has a great resilience about her – she went back to work.
In May she swam the 200 meter fly in 2:27. Yesterday at the local Junior Olympic meet she swam 2:25 in prelims and a 2:22.7 in finals. She earned her cut to the long course NCSA Junior National meet in 3 weeks. The 200 meter cut is 2:23.19.
Keep in mind that as a 10 & under, an 11-12 and early in her 13-14 age groups she was not a super involved racer. She didn’t compete at Far Westerns or even the Junior Olympic meet. Today she is practically swimming 200 meter fly in the same time as she swam 200 yard fly a year ago. Her best 100 yard fly a year or so ago was 1:05. Sunday she swam a 1:05 for meters. (You college coaches out there, Elizabeth is a junior this September.)
How does this happen? She has not grown measurably physically. However, what she has done since she declared her intention is to make 90+% of the available workouts. Her dry land component has changed as well. And when a stress set is given, she leans into it. When a technique set is given, she is working on her body position, distance per stroke and tempo.
We have had stress sets and technique sets every week since we began coaching – several decades ago. Elizabeth has had the opportunity to move forward if she wanted to – many months ago. She decided in March to act on her stated goals. That is what made the difference. This business about improving and tapping your potential isn’t terribly complicated.
After her 2:22.7 we asked Elizabeth if she knew when she made her cut. She looked like we for sure knew the answer, about 10 minutes ago. We reminded her that she actually made her cut in late March. She smiled a smile of satisfaction. She understands the link. She will be successful in her life, no matter her direction or undertaking. Intention is powerful and she knows firsthand the power.
Know what you want. Declare it. Act on it. Just ask Elizabeth.
“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back-- Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now."
(Attributed to Goethe)