I am not done yet

That could come out of the construction department looking after the venues in preparation of the 2012 Summer Games in London. The clock is ticking: 198 days left until the countdown shows “zero”. That could come from any hopeful candidate running for a special mandate, whether it is to lead a country, a company or a team project. Last time I heard it was this weekend while watching a video of Gary Robbins, a diver turned ultra-runner/adventure racer, who ran the Canadian East Coast Trail, i.e. 215 km in… 35 hours and 17 minutes, when other “regular” people would take 10 days to hike it. Yes, he is one exceptional athlete, the kind that inspires (me, at least, and I know I am not the only one, and I know it is not just about the bagpipes, the flute or the fiddle).

Sacramento, CA’s Alex Honnold is another one the majority of us would qualify as “crazy”. He just keeps pushing: not to prove anything, just for himself, because he loves it. From his words, adrenaline is not part of the picture: challenge is. He made the cover of National Geographic and he seems pretty relaxed about it: sure, he cashes in on (marketing) his athletic prowess, and that does not seem to be the reason he manages to shut his mind off and focus on what he loves. Oh, yes, that is it: these two do what they love, and, apparently, they will stop, if ever, when that feeling gets to fade.

How do they do that? They pace themselves. I know, it sounds irrational, and that is what they do. I push myself when I spar too. The black belt in me pushes through without ever rushing: best recipe to stay in the fight and not gas out or pant. I used to want to finish the fight quickly: pointless, ignoring how my opponent would respond. I have learned since, and my first boss had hammered this statement into my psyche numerous times: “just in time is neither before nor after the set time: if a supplier delivers outside of the time frame you set, you fail too.” He taught me a different kind of patience: I have been using it both at work and in everyday life, and caught myself when I was breaking a (time) commitment.

Precipitate any project usually calls for a poor result, even with a solid preparation along with qualified thoughts or actions: instantly or in the long run, it bites. This is the same with a budget, and balancing it: it is as irresponsible to smoke it at the beginning of a deal as it is to hold it until the last minute. Look at Honnold again: he keeps climbing in a mellow way. Robbins just goes with his “mind over matter” approach, even when the idea of quitting flirts with his brain or when his bag with food supplies is nowhere to be found for 45 minutes. There might be doubt, but there is no stopping … until the finish line … and the next adventure.