Talent and fulfillment of potential: Not who you are as much as what you do

Some years ago when I was coaching my son to play competitive tennis, he lost a close match that he should have won. Clearly he had more talent. Shot for shot he was the better player. A senior pro who was watching the game, came over and consoled me. He said that he knew my son and the boy who beat him. Sure my son was the more attractive player but his competitor had just hit more balls in training. His muscle memory allowed him to keep more balls in play and so he made the fewer mistakes. It was that simple. Practice, dull boring drills perfecting every shot again and again and again.

Mohamed Ali’s most famous quote was “the fight is won or lost faraway from witnesses, behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights”. Preparation, preparation, preparation is the key to success. All top performers spend more hours than their nearest competitor practicing and honing their craft so that they can draw on their greater resources in the heat of battle.

In a similar vein, Daniel Coyle in his book “The Talent Code”, makes a case for the deliberate, strenuous, and boring practice routine that can significantly enhance individual performance. It is not necessarily your genes and what you are hard wired to do but what you can achieve through your behavior which in turn is driven by your thought process.
Coyle talks about a tennis academy in Russia where the players conduct long rallies without a ball. This helps them break down their technique into its various components and fine tune their skills which allows them to internalize a much better pattern of performance which then gets stored into muscle memory. The coach is the key person who helps cement this technique by providing continuous feedback and facilitating the process of internalization.

Winning in business with performance coaching

Whether in sport or business, performance coaching focuses on developing the appropriate structures that can facilitate the appropriate actions needed to secure the desired outcomes. The sheer discipline of repetitive practice cannot be achieved without the assistance of a coach. Because somewhere along the journey, you tend to lose the emotional commitment that is so critical to the process of winning. It is the internalization, the self awareness, the self belief that the coach fosters in you by addressing your thought process that brings about the changes in your behavior. And it is these appropriate behaviors that lead to the appropriate actions that will bring the desired results. Experience can tell you what to do, but it is the self belief that allows you to execute it. Yes, your inherent talent can help, but that alone does not produce a champion. In many ways, equality has come to quality. That is why it makes so much sense to put in the hard work and take full advantage of the benefits of a coach.

Once again, the journey always starts with your thoughts. If you don’t address the thought process, you cannot achieve the deep, serious and sustainable changes in behavior needed to achieve your goals. That in essence is the core philosophy at Thought Perfect. Clear thinking becomes visible through actions, which will bring about the desired perfect outcomes.

Pratap Nambiar

CEO, Thought Perfect

Tags: , , ,