Insight 7: Important learnings from our greatest Olympian for the year ahead

Ian Fergusson is our greatest Olympian having won 6 gold medals. Many years ago, I heard an interview with him. It went like this…

I was a young Kayaker, pushing hard and unexpectedly qualified in the final of a world champ race. All the guns were there including the top Kayakers from Europe.

I started the race well, focusing on the 8 components of my stroke that made the boat go fast. About 2/3rds of the way through the race, I looked to my left, I was out in front. I looked to my right and I was out in front there too. I could sense that I was going to win and started seeing myself on the dias with a gold medal being placed around my neck …. and then all of a sudden, I was dead last. What happened?

In the instant that I thought I was going to win, my mind shifted. Instead of thinking about the eight components of my stroke I was thinking about the finish line and what would happen beyond that. yMy head left the game and went elsewhere. A subtle shift with big outcomes.

From this learning experience Fergusson was able to learn, grow, and went on to become NZ’s greatest Olympian.

Whats the point? In our email, the press and our networks there is a lot of noise at the moment. Its distracting and can shift the brain game from the focus that we need to be good at what we do. As per Fergusson’s experience, subtle shifts in mindset can produce nothing, or with the ability to stay focused can produce a decade long history making result.

Despite the noise, stay focused on the things that matter to you. This might be success in business, being a great partner or a great parent.

Stay focused, be that person and have a great year.


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