“I don’t need to wear my medals but…

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“I don’t need to wear my medals, but I would like people to recognise how hard I work in training and that I always try to do things properly”

Those were the words my youngest son Luke who is 11 uttered last night whilst we were all crashed in the snug with another swimming gala coming up today. 

By way of context, Luke is a promising swimmer. He has really developed over the past 12 months and he is highly ranked as a county swimmer with potential to swim at Midlands level too. He has recently stepped upto training six days a week at two swimming clubs in order to get the pool time he needs to develop and compete. In total he trains around 9 hours a week covering at least 10000 metres. 

On his return from a gala, any medals he has won quickly find their way to a bedroom shelf, with more interest shown in his times and how he compares on the County rankings. This is different to other swimmers, who quite rightly for them, take their medals along to training sessions and proudly show them off.

Last night Luke talked that it was his choice not to do this, but expressed frustration that he felt that people did not recognise his success and that actually he would like recognition not for his medals but for his work ethic, and how hard he works to perfect his technique. He knows he is good, but its the effort and his ability he wants to be recognised for.

So what have I reflected on today. 

A reminder that whilst some of us might have a need for achievement this might be expressed in many ways. Meeting or beating the target, and/or the public display of those achievements would be the obvious examples. But what struck  me about Luke’s comment was the need for him to be the best he can be at something, he is currently working on improving his times at the moment, but is struggling to let go as he fears his technique might detriorate. Its a real dilemma for him!

I am reminded of Jim Collins “hedgehog principle” and Dan Pinks “mastery”.

I wonder do we always give each other the opportunity to be the best at something, be clear about the steps that it takes, to value mastery, and in the way we recognise people that we place an equal value on the how as much as the what they have achieved. Its easy to see success as very tangible outcomes, but the how you get there is surely equally as important and maybe we need to put more value on that.

I wonder if we did, what we might help others to achieve?

 

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