It was a Saturday afternoon. I had played tennis, enjoyed a little lunch with the girls, and was enjoying that weekend feeling of not having to really be anywhere. It’s a great feeling, isn’t it? Nothing to do, nowhere to be, just mulling over whether to have one last drink or to get on with the rest of the weekend. Suddenly, the club was buzzing. To be honest, I haven’t witnessed anything like it before or since. People everywhere. A crowd was gathering in the bar area but people were also heading purposefully towards the gym. Or so I thought. They may have been striding purposely, but they weren’t all in gym gear. Exercise did not appear to be the purpose! Suddenly the news broke through the building – the Mighty All Blacks had arrived for a training session and EVERYONE wanted to be in on the action. In fairness, who wouldn’t want to watch greatness in action?!
It wouldn’t have been my style to just go and watch. To join the throng of men and women who headed to the gym to stand and watch them train felt voyeuristic. To be honest, I was really amused, I’d never seen so many stilettos in the gym before! But hey, at that particular time I was a regular in the gym. I had my personalised training programme and I knew what I was doing. And, as we had gone straight to the bar from playing tennis, I hadn’t yet changed to go home. I figured I could head to the gym, sneak into the small corner training area behind the doors, and watch from afar while I did a little light training programme of my own.
So… I headed upstairs, found my way to the unoccupied corner mats in the corner of the gym, gathered the bits of kit I thought I would use and started my workout. I had a great view of the All Blacks arriving and yet, I was completely out of the way of the main action – especially the fawning. Ugh. I’m so not a fawner!
Imagine my shock/surprise/horror when 4 of the guys asked if they could share my mat! It would be fair to say that a gym has never been my natural habitat and in that moment, I really wanted to run away. Being in the presence of greatness is a very humbling place to be. But I couldn’t move! I mean, how stupid would it have looked to run away. So I quietly and methodically (and perhaps more quickly than usual!) worked through a short programme and to my amazement even ended building a little rapport as we shared equipment! They must be the only guys in the world to get away with calling me ‘little lady’ as they asked what I needed next for my programme… and I did feel pretty little next to them!
Ok. So it’s a funny story. It’s kinda nice to have funny stories that are true! But I’m not telling you my story because it’s funny, or even because it’s nice. I wanted to tell you my story because it’s about greatness. Greatness isn’t just about being great. It’s not about being the greatest. It strikes me that greatness is more a quality than a measure of superiority. Much has been written about what greatness is and what I witnessed that afternoon fits very much with something I read earlier today.
You see, what has stayed with me from that experience is not the overwhelm or even the embarrassment of sharing that space. The thing I have never forgotten was having the privilege of watching not only the elite physical training but, more importantly, the elite focus and attitude with which they trained. In particular, I noticed one thing that has always stayed in my mind. Even with their own personal knowledge of elite fitness and their own individual athletic greatness, without exception each player would undertake their designated exercise, return the kit they had used and then report in to the Trainer. Over and over again, I heard “What next, Coach?”.
If you’re not familiar with Robin Sharma, he’s an internationally acclaimed author and leadership expert who studies, and has written several books about, greatness. It’s hard to summarise his findings in a sentence or two, but the point I want to make is that the one thing he found all extraordinary people (athletes, politicians, entrepreneurs, performers…), have in common is “passionate consistency on the fundamentals”. Brian Johnson introduced me to that phrase when I was given his book last year. Given the clients I work with, this was a fabulous gift to receive!
Passionate consistency on the fundamentals is exactly what I witnessed, first hand, in the gym that afternoon. Greatness, even when you are the greatest in the world, is about ‘showing up, day in and day out, and rocking the stuff that is most important to making them exceptional in their field’ – great quote Brian!
Reading Brian’s book “A Philosopher’s Notes” challenged me to think about what my fundamentals are. What am I doing passionately and consistently to help my own journey towards unstoppability. I’ve got it down to eight.
- To tune in – to really listen to and trust my internal sat nav!
- To set crystal clear intentions
- To turn up my beliefs (bye bye limitations!)
- To commit boldly to action
- To connect curiously with those around me
- To follow through courageously
- To create – with love
- To follow up authentically
I’d love to know what your passionate and consistent fundamentals of greatness are. If you’re not sure, let’s connect and find out. I’d love to help you rock the stuff that is most important to making you exceptional!
Until next time… be bold, be brave and be brilliant.
Are you on a mission to create change in your world? Do come and join my Mission Unstoppable community. I’d love to learn more about your mission, especially if I can help you to lead with confidence, create more impact and live a life that matters.