You don’t have to wait for the beginning of a year or the start of a new month to consider your goals, direction and dedication to your current path. Focusing on the word dedication –  it is one of those very emotive words, meaning very different things to each person you ask. People in the sporting world are said to be dedicated to their calling, their passion, their craft but what does that actually mean?

What are you dedicated to? Your partner or spouse, your children, your family, your fitness, your body, your sport? As a performing sports person the answer is totally clear – 110% dedicated to your sport – simple – but life changes!

When researching for this newsletter the US Swim team had some very clear language on what dedication means for them and the levels

  • No Dedication: Showing up at practice when I feel like it.
  • Minimum Dedication: Showing up to mandatory practices.
  • Moderate Dedication: Working hard at mandatory practices and some optional practices.
  • High Dedication: Working hard at all available practices and doing a little bit extra outside of the pool
  • Total Dedication: Working hard at all available practices and doing everything you can outside of the pool (mental training, nutrition, strength/flexibility training…)

You could read these levels as 5 gears of dedication – where obviously 5th gear is the goal. It’s where you have always worked before, but now? What gear are you in now?

I personally can resonate with this description – “Dedication is when you are bent over, drenched in sweat, just about to pass out, and then you smile.”

How then does this relate to where you are in business today, be that in life after a sporting career or a career associated with the sports industry?  How dedicated are you to being a success now – how often do you get to the point of almost mentally passing out because you have given everything you possibly could give to win that deal, gain that contract or solve that issue?

Yes, agreed, it’s not the same, but actually it is the same – if you are dedicated to being the best it doesn’t matter whether you are in sport, a nurse, a carer or an entrepreneur – dedication is dedication. Many people get lack of dedication confused with procrastination or FAFFing about, that’s just a convenient excuse; if you are truly dedicated there is no time to FAFF about, only time to focus and achieve the best.

Clearly dedication is about pushing your limits and still enjoying the process and if you can get the team around you to follow and do the same then you will have the dedication necessary to succeed.

Consider this quote from Mohammad Ali, “I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.’” Are you performing like a dedicated champion or are you going through the motions, making excuses and blaming others for your level of or lack of success?

If it is important enough to you then nothing can get in your way. If it’s not working for you today change the programme, change the environment, change something – only you can make those changes and only you know what are the necessary changes are for you to grow and succeed.

When you get to the end of the day, week, month do you consistently say to yourself in all honesty that “I gave it all I had” like you used to on the pitch, court, or pool? If not, then change something!

Without 100% dedication, you won’t be able to accept destructive criticism from others and from the voices in your head, you must be completely dedicated to your chosen direction, working harder than you have worked before. Get help around you that is right for the road ahead, not who you used to be. We all need a PowerTeam, and that doesn’t happen by magic, ask for help, ask me for help, ask somebody, agree the way forward and take action!