Thursday 23 October 2014

Follow through all the way to the finishing line

Gerry Duffy

Published 26/08/2014 | 02:30

Rory McIlroy puts his return to form down to refocusing on the job in hand

I first went into the world of self-employment in 2003. In those 11 years, I have secured a university of education. One of my early learnings was to have respect for business. Some early experiences encouraged me to 
realise that the business wasn't done until the money was in the bank. On many occasions, deals would fall through, long after I thought I had fulfilled my contract.

During that time I have had two different businesses. In the first, I had 70 to 80 yearly business transactions. In May, I might think I had a deal done, but other issues outside of my control conspired in many projects taking six months to complete. On many occasions - and for any number of reasons - the deal would subsequently fall through.

Out of this, I secured two lessons. The first was resilience. I got that in spades. Having poured perhaps six months into something, only to see it unravel in front of you - it was often hard to see positives. But over time, I learned to take it on the chin. Those experiences were very useful to me in latter day sporting ambitions.

The second can be summarised in one word - respect. This zone of 'respect' was ring-fenced around the following fact - it wasn't done until it was done. It meant never taking my ambitions or goals for granted. It meant following through, by staying focused on what I needed to do and to the best that I could. No one can do any more but often some try and get away with less.

A few weeks ago, world number one golfer Rory McIlroy was asked about his recent upturn in golfing form. He replied by saying it was down to a refocus on the jobs in hand.

I have filed this under a heading of 'having respect for the goal'. As a consequence, I will always endeavour to follow through 100pc on my training plans. I will never take it for granted that I will succeed. I will not try and get away with 95pc of the workload and I encourage others to do the same. Don't take short cuts and never take something for granted until it's done. If you are immersed in a challenging goal, the very word 'challenging' suggests it is going to test you.

On a few occasions recently, I have seen some people not respect the challenges they had signed up for. As a consequence, some have fallen short.

Often, I believe if they were really honest, they might admit it wasn't the challenge that beat them. It was their lack of respect for it. This might be skipping a session or two because they are disinclined; it might be only giving 85pc when it demanded more; it might also be in taking on an unrealistic goal before we have paid our dues in lesser events.

As someone who is now back in college for a fourth time, when I look back on my 1980s school days and my underachieving results, I realise this was both immaturity on my part and a lack of respect for putting in the required effort. I thought it was because I was academically challenged, but it wasn't.

I just needed to have more respect.

GerryDuffy@32marathons

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