Great goals take time to achieve. But with steady, focused work each piece necessary to bring that big goal into form will fall into place.

Not everyone has the patience to have the final essential elements gel though. At first progress is fast. Then it begins to slow, and eventually it can seem like an eternal grind just to gain that final inch. Yes, this is the curve to perfection.

But what is misunderstood is the weight and impact each individual element has on your ability to experience personal greatest. Let’s use an example. Say it’s going to take you developing nine different skills to achieve your personal best at something. It doesn’t matter if it’s in sports, business, music or wherever. Just pick something you are familiar with and are working to get really good at, even if it’s on a very personal level that has nothing to do with anyone else.

Each of those nine things will be needed to eventually feel like you have reached personal perfection in your quest. But while each one is going to be indispensable to having your perfect moment, they won’t develop at the same rate, nor will they carry the same weight in how they impact how “perfection” feels. Here’s why, and why you should NOT bail on your dream before you master every single one of them!

The learning curve to perfection is steep at first. In very short time you are able to check off a number of key elements necessary to be at your best. But then the curve starts to get more gradual. Eventually it can look so flat that the last pieces seem like they’ll never be mastered.

In the first year or two you will get a good grasp on a bunch of the things on your list. Let’s say by that time you can do three key things well and count on being able to do them at crunch time when they are needed. You are proud of your progress and gain almost daily reinforcement as your skill level goes up in all areas, but mostly in these first three, whatever they are.

The first part of the curve to perfection is fast and steep. The rest won’t be, but it’s so worth keeping going until you get there.

The curve to perfection will not keep up this pace though!

The next third in your list of nine elements may take another few years before you feel like, yes, now I can count on these things also. They are just more difficult skills for you to get to the point where they become a weapon in your arsenal. But the pace is still reinforcing you to keep going and keep working.

Now comes the final three elements needed for your moment of perfection. You’ve been working on these from day one like all the other skills. But they are just not things you feel you can count on in the heat of competition or in the situation where your efforts count most. Then one day a shift happens and one of those last three things works for you the way it should. You are energized by it!

The interesting thing about all this is that those final few pieces may only make a small change in your overall outward expression of what you are doing, but they will give you a quantum leap in your experience of it.

So maybe by mastering six of your nine skills takes you to a level in your sport or your work that is in the top few percent overall, maybe even the best on occasion. But by now adding one of those last three elements from your list of nine you are not just one ninth better. You are thirty percent better, at least in your experience of your quest.

It’s a positive snowball kind of thing that happens to your energy, what you project, how you move or talk or perform. The outward effect may be small. Perhaps it’s only a fraction of time gained in a race, but that could also be the difference between a podium or not, between a victory or not. And you can now depend on your overall performance more than ever.

Now come’s the final two of nine.

These might come seven to ten years into a journey you are focusing a lot of your energies toward. They might take double that. But then one day, one of those last two pieces clicks for you. And you are again not just one ninth better. You are 50% better, at least in your experience. That’s because you only had two skills or qualities left to tame in your overall arsenal.

The ultimate breakthrough performance. Winning in 1995 at the IRONMAN World Championship.

And then the last element happens.

You understand why it’s been eluding you. You make the changes on how you approach it. Suddenly you start to see that it’s become a dependable weapon like all the rest. But now you just made a 100% improvement, at least in your experience of your curve to perfection.

It’s like you just plugged the last hole in the hull of a ship. Until it was fully sealed, no matter how small that last hole was, the ship would eventually take on too much water and sink. You just patched the last hole in a tire leaking air. Now you can ride without worry, perfectly. The last tiles were put on your roof and the rain can no longer get in. You get the picture. So stick with your efforts until that last piece needed on your curve to perfection is placed. You will be glad you did!

Join us on your journey to perfection in triathlons at MarkAllenCoaching.com.

Stay tune for Part 2 coming next week!

 

 

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About the author Mark Allen More information on the author

I am the Founder and CEO at Mark Allen Coaching. I am proud to have been voted in an ESPN global poll "The Greatest Endurance Athlete Of All Time." During my multi-sport career I won the Ironman Triathlon World Championship six time, the inaugural Triathlon World Championship at the Olympic Distance in Avignon, France, and at one point in my career I won 21 straight races across every derivation and distance. It was a great career, but that's all it would ever be unless I was able to share all of the experience and methodology we invented long before smart watches, power meters, and flashy uniforms. That's why I started Mark Allen Coaching, as a way to return to others at least the part of the gifts I received.

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