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Hard work, or hardly working?

What is hard work?

Is there a perception that you're working hard but not getting to where you want to be? Here we look once again at why some people excel whilst others stagnate or don't quite achieve their potential. It's an insight into how I for one have realised what needed to be done and how I've progressed from there!

In the past I've been under the impression that I've been working hard. My swimming career was part of this... and to be honest, for what I was doing at the time with regards to education and social life, I probably was near my limit in terms of what I was willing to put into the sport.

That being said, I wanted to be better, and I couldn't understand why when I hopped off of Guernsey to the mainland to compete, that in the bigger competitions, I was being demolished. My fundamental error here was that I wasn't aware of what it took to be as good as these teenage protégées. I thought I was working hard, but in comparison to these athletes, I was hardly working!

This leaks into many, if not all aspects of life. If you want to achieve a goal or a target... you have to be acutely aware of what that takes; this can relate to your new year resolutions, a sporting achievement, work progression or education. That understanding of what others are doing or have done in order to get to the level or stage that they are at is essential for your own journey. We broke it down the other week with regards to weight loss... but it could be work related.

Let's talk about my Journey through my architectural studies for example. One thing I became good at was breaking things down into manageable chunks (probably stemming from my dyslexia and not being able to comprehend the bigger picture to begin with...). I was and still am an avid planner. I will look at what I want to achieve with regards to a project or piece of work, and break it down as much as I can.

Breaking it down isn't something that I was good at straight away and it came about through being around people who were far better than I was at architecture and learning a lot from them to do with the design process, how to do particular pieces of work, and so on and so forth.

So I was watching and understanding how the process occurred and how I could break it down for myself. I then became quite efficient with it myself and that helped me a lot throughout my studies.

It's not by chance that you can get a lot better from spending time with those that are better than you are, have been there and done that. They have gone through the process and know themselves what it takes to get to that level of skill, fitness or education.

So when moving back to Cardiff and joining the National Performance centre for triathlon, I was surrounded by some of the best... and whilst I was naive to the sport, I quickly learned about what it would take to get to the level that I desired. And it's not quick!! It's a hard graft whatever profession you're focusing on. But if you understand how to get there, it certainly fast tracks your progress! I've been very fortunate that I've had such a great team around me for my career as a triathlete and architect, and I've learned an incredible amount because of that.

Is this by chance, or am I unconsciously seeking the information from those that are better than me in order to improve. It's the interest and passion that encourages me to seek the information, so an important aspect must be just that... Having that will and desire to improve, and ultimately, perform better.

So, how can you apply this to yourself? Surround yourself with those that are better than you are at the profession, and learn what you can from them... Break it down... and action it yourself. In a sporting scenario, this could be having a coach that has been there and done that and is at a level or has been at a level that you aspire to be at... Same with a tutor or teacher... learn from them what you can and apply it! This is a sure fire way to fast track your progress.


It's important to note ... whilst this may be fast tracking your progress... there isn't necessarily a 'fast' way to reach the top. Put in the work, the hard work, for a long sustained period of time, and you'll reap the rewards.


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