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You Control the Effort, Not the Result

I was a reading the “War of Art” by Steven Pressfiled, and a phrase really stuck out to me. It was, “You only have a right to the work, not the results or benefits.” I think this nicely relates to training and racing as well. To me, this means you control the effort and process, and not the results. So, enjoy and take satisfaction in the process, as that is where the joy should come from. You never know when the race day conditions will suck, or you get sick two days before your A race. If you are doing what you are meant to do, the results will come.

Let me give a recent example from my life. Last week, I raced a marathon. My training for the race was the best quality training, I have done for a marathon. I will confident in a PR. At mile 16 of the race, my legs had a different plan, and I finished 10 minutes slower than expected. It was not my day.

When I crossed the finish line, I was disappointed. How could I have training so well, and fallen short of my goal? Then, I thought back to the quote above. Training and racing endurance sports is my passion. I would not take back all of the training run with friends, or long runs that leave me feeling invincible. I put full effort into my plan, and i just came up short on race day. This is my purpose, and is not defined by the result.

I am not saying not to set goals. Goals are very important. The best way to succeed is to set a big goal, and work a plan backward to achieve it. Along the process of achieving that goal, find enjoyment in the work. If you succeed or fall short on race day, know you put in a full effort.

This is not an excuse either. If you didn’t put in a full effort you will know. That’s OK. Find out what resistance kept you from putting in your full effort, and overcome it next time. Rationalizing a bad performance with excuses is not acceptable.

What are your thoughts on this topic? How are you living your purpose, and enjoying the process?