Honesty, Humility & Pre-Mortem
weighs Ronda Rousey’s “I am still undefeated”statement
“For me, when I’ve been there: I lost that fight. Why did I lose that fight? I lost focus. I didn’t perform well. I didn’t do what I was supposed to do. And for me, I had to be honest with myself in order to get better…(without that) i wouldn’t have changed things.”
– UFC Champion Holly Holm
“…and the NEW! UFC Champion of the world…”
The power of the human mind can elevate athletes’ potential further than what can be imagined. We are quick to forget just how jagged of a pill that defeat can be. Genetically gifted talents, iron will and star-studded bravado all work to build the confidence that we need to be successful. But let’s sharpen our EQ (Emotional Quotient), go against the grain and develop an uncommon practice of Pre-mortem. More often seen in successful military and business strategic campaigns in which leadership imagines that a project or organization has failed. Then the team works to reverse engineer in determining what potentially could lead to the failure of the project or organization. These vulnerability self-evaluations should be likened to 2002 Steven Spielberg’s “Minority Report”, where Chief Tom Anderton (Tom Cruise) utilizes a team of “Pre-Cogs” to look into the future to prevent crimes.
Take this practice into 2 distinct yet intertwined levels. Superficially, pre-mortem is a great motivator during difficult moments in training. Feelings of physical discomfort such as hyper-elevated heart & respiratory rates, highly acidic muscles, the pain of stretching and the total mind-screw of not having the ability to strictly perform movements all create very uncomfortable environments. These are teaching opportunities that should be used to drive understanding that our weaker links will eventually lead to disappointing performances at best, catastrophic failures at worst. Utilize athletes’ internal drive to attack weaknesses, thus decreasing their contribution to ineffectiveness in the arenas. The deeper level entails constantly bettering battlefield positions. For instance, successful racing is about playing within two variations of hyper-velocity, Speed Reserve & Speed Endurance. Being so fast that you can cruise through prelims is a great example of reserve, having more horse power than the athlete needs. Speed Endurance is not only having the metabolic effectiveness to sustain desired pace, but more importantly having the efficiency and a high level of injury resistance that doesn’t force the aforementioned prelims and racing to be extremely taxing. Non-top tier athletes are forced to lay it all on the line just to get into the next round, much less the Finals. Whereas those through nature & nurture who have significant Speed Reserve & Speed Endurance can conserve going into the last dance, ready to put on a show. But, bad prelims often lead to bad lane assignments. Fight sciences have taught us that cruising into the weigh-in, not having to cut dramatic amounts of weight will make all of the difference in the world when they’re standing in the center of the ring.
Its the norm of our optimistic, human nature to celebrate what we’re good at and to outwardly shine the sexiness of our strengths. Those with experience know that every fight gym is filled with athletes that can strike hard, every basketball court lines up athletes that can dunk and we’re all amazed at just how good the quarterback is. But as true as the sun rises each and every day:
Cam Newton (1) of the Carolina Panthers gets pressured by the Broncos defense in the second quarter. The Denver Broncos played the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. on February 7, 2016. (Photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post)
Cam Newton (1) of the Carolina Panthers gains a first down in the second quarter as he is hit by Von Miller (58) of the Denver Broncos. The Denver Broncos played the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. on February 7, 2016. (Photo by John Leyba/The Denver Post)
Feb 7, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) is pushed out of bounds by Denver Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller (58) n Super Bowl 50 at Levi’s Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports
Defense wins championships! We never bet on it and more often against it. But, it is a reality that has stood the test of time. Pre-mortem practice is one of the best proactive, defensive tools that we can use to elevate potential. This in turn drives what we all should strive to achieve, sustainability & reliability. Because, we all want to stay there once we’ve had that sweet taste of success. In order for us to be in position to develop these, it will require the honesty that comes with maturity, a check-your-ego-at-the-door humility and a commitment to constantly improving.
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