It’s another letter from the DOC!!! – December 2008
Quite an impressive piece of golf history ended last week. In Dubai, a place where much of our generation’s golf history is being written today, Annika Sorenstam entered retirement and has reportedly closed the books on a career that will be difficult for anybody to come anywhere near to comparing with in the future. Why Annika is ending her career now and whether it will be permanent has been discussed at length by any media with any sort of interest in sport. However, I don’t think that anybody other than Annika herself would have the slightest idea about what it takes to be her and could even begin to speculate as to how she has accomplished the things she has during her time in golf. Why though, is now the time to walk away? I have a feeling it could be much to do with that little intangible; motivation. For most of us, finding motivation and keeping it is a bit like trying to keep a ladybird in the palm of our hand. If you try force there is a big risk you will squeeze it, but if you keep it under close surveillance, follow its every move and try to keep up with it running around, you could actually keep it for quite some time. Once it decides to fly away though it is lost and likely very difficult to recapture.
The other day I spoke to an athlete who, like Annika, is a great example of knowing how to handle motivation. This athlete came back from Beijing with a medal but still disappointed in terms of what she wanted to accomplish. She has really needed to go inside herself to find out if she still has the motivation to get back into training in order to continue to compete and it seems the answer is yes, at least for now. Of course everybody takes that return to training as if she is aiming for London 2012. Whether that will happen she only knows.
I have a feeling that what motivates individuals is a very unique thing for each of us. The key is that, if it is right, it will give you the energy to get you to jump out of bed in the morning and get on with what you need to be doing. Undoubtedly, whatever the field is, that is the kind of energy that is required to help become one of the best in the world. Unfortunately I have a feeling that many of us, as our experiences have shown us, know exactly what can knock that motivation. I wonder though if we as individuals spend enough time looking for the energy that, if they don’t find it, World Class athletes just know that they might as well look for something else to do.
Michael Phelps, the American swimmer who won eight gold’s in Beijing had his own way of finding motivation. In his locker when training for the games he had an article where Ian Thorpe, the highly successful Australian swimmer, said that winning eight gold was impossible. Phelps said “I saw that every morning before training and that made me work harder.” If you would like to read some more about Phelps The Guardian are now doing a serious of articles on him related to his newly released book. See more at http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2008/dec/11/sportinterviews-michaelphelps.
Whatever works for you is, I think, a good motivator. Why not use the holiday season for a bit of a search for that energy inside yourself?
“Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others.”
– Jonathan Swift