In sports, athletes are made legends by milliseconds and millimeters. It’s in the extra push, the expanded reach, the microsecond a decision is made to go further and giving just an ounce more to push beyond their best. I think about this a lot. I used to get so immersed in the cocoon of pushing further that I lost perspective on what it was that I was pushing for. It was like a Pavlovian response. I would appear to be excelling, yet feel like I was constantly coming up short. So, why do we go to such mental and physical lengths? Let’s say you want to be the best and winning is your measure. If you win, great. What does "the win" mean? If you don’t win, what do you make of what you did and where you landed?
I have spent a good portion of my adult years wrestling with, unraveling, and testing the concepts of motivation and purpose. I am fascinated by it and bound to it as part of my mission to be ever-evolving. Some of us are driven to get sh*t done and “getting sh*t done” becomes the motivator pushing us forward. Queue the hamster wheel. We have lists that are miles long showing boundless execution that, one could argue, makes us successful. Yet, underneath we can feel empty and exhausted if those miles-long lists aren’t grounded in purpose.
If we connect our extra effort, reach, and push to something deeper and meaningful to us, I believe that all of us have the ability to healthily push beyond boundaries and make ourselves the best version of who we can be time and time again. It’s like polishing stones in a drum that turns over and over and over, smoothing out the rough edges and shining up the brilliance below the surface. So ask yourself, “Why do I get up and do my workout every morning?”, “Why am I putting in extra hours on this project?”, and “Why am I preserving time to be with my partner, kids, family?” Pausing to ask yourself and ensuring that what you are doing is grounded in a purpose beyond the immediate task, outcome, or accomplishment is validation that you are focusing on the right things or that you aren’t. If it’s the latter, you have the clarity to intentionally make changes and direct your attention elsewhere.
Be clear about your motivation and purpose, and when the time comes to put that extra push in, you’ll have a deep well to draw from to give you that little something extra. Whether you win or not, you are clear your actions are connected to something bigger than that moment and you’ve evolved a little in the process.