By: Sean Anthony
“The greatest source of inspiration is hard work. Of course, I also believe in inspiration itself, but sometimes you have to provoke it.” – Joaquin Rodrigo
We work with a lot of great athletes: national record holders, world champions, Olympic team members, gold medalists, etc. And, given the many elements that are necessary in order to achieve what these athletes have achieved, we are continually inspired by the example they set, and grateful for the opportunity to work with them on a daily basis.
But a recent high performance camp we just wrapped up reminded me that inspiration can just as often be found amongst ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Our most recent training camp was not comprised of young athletes fine-tuning their performances for a shot at the Olympic podium in Rio de Janeiro next year. It was comprised of middle-aged corporate types affiliated with Melbourne’s professional AFL team, Carlton Football Club, here with us in Flagstaff for an executive high performance camp.
These men came to us in Flagstaff after nearly a year of training and preparation under the watchful eyes of Carlton coaches, Some of them lost serious weight (30 kilos / 66 pounds) in order to even qualify to be on the “Arizona Blue 2015” team. Some had been with us before and wanted to improve on past performances. And others wanted simply to challenge themselves to reach a new level in a new environment. All wanted to take everything we and northern Arizona could throw at them, dig deep, and overcome.
They rose to this challenge in a big and meaningful way, and by doing so, reminded us that the things most necessary to succeed in sport are, in reality, the same things that are necessary to succeed in life. They rely on the ability – and necessity – to continually move outside our own comfort zones and push ourselves beyond preconceived boundaries to ever higher levels of performance.
I’ve said this before but it bears repeating: “high performance” can be defined very broadly, and means far more to most people than training to cross the finish line first and in the fastest time ever. It certainly can be that for many we work with. But it’s also about people reaching their own unique fullest potential through sheer grit and determination, so that they can pull something extraordinary out of themselves when it matters most. It’s great to see those instances when standing on top of a high mountain peak is equivalent to standing on top of a podium, and when setting a personal record is as deeply satisfying as setting a world record.
What more could we ask from life but to be continually inspired, to have the various people that we interact with on a daily basis (whether through work or play) raise us ourselves to new heights? Many of the Carlton corporates expressed how much challenging themselves here changed their lives. I just have to say that having them here with us changed all of ours too. Thanks for the inspiration, and safe travels, mates.