Process – Define it, Value it

Now that we’ve established Purpose, we move on to the second of Pat’s 3Ps of Performance – Process.  If you ask any athlete I’ve coached over the years for one word that they remember from me, a high percentage would likely answer ‘process.’   This has been central to my approach for twenty years now, and I would argue well before the term came into vogue in athletics.  Like with Purpose, I think there are really two key steps to keeping Process central to your endeavors.

No surprise, the first step is to define the Process.  At this point we know our Purpose, both the what and the why.  Let’s use the example of the young woman who has decided she wants to qualify for the track & field Olympic Trials (her what) to serve as an example for her little sister (her why).  Ok, now what does her Process look like to pursue that?  Months of work at the minimum lie ahead, hours per week and per day that must be allocated in her schedule.  This endeavor is going to require much running of various types, long runs, sessions on the track, hill repeats, etc.  It is going to require significant strength and mobility training, core work, weight room time, drills, etc.  It is going to require travel to races and perhaps to training camps if involving altitude stints.  She will likely need some physical therapy care and massage.  Some level of sacrifice will be needed in other areas of life; foregoing some social gatherings to get to bed early to be up for key training sessions, etc.

This young woman needs to firmly grasp the process she is taking on.  This seems almost silly to point out but here is why it is so critical; it is likely that this individual really enjoys some of these aspects and does not naturally enjoy others.  It is quite common for runners to (shocker here) enjoy running and not enjoy strength training, PT care, etc.  Our minds naturally focus on what we enjoy, so too many athletes go into pursuit of such a goal thinking, ‘hey this is all about running and I love running so piece of cake!’  An individual must go into a journey understanding ALL of what the process entails.  Further, they need to understand why all these different pieces are necessary and how they work together.  So many times, I find myself explaining to athletes the difference between training and running.  If you are trying to reach your potential, to pursue a real challenge in any one activity (running, climbing, cycling, power lifting) the process thereof is going to include MUCH that isn’t that one activity!  Define it all ahead so you know what is coming, that it is all important, and how it all works together.

The second part of the Process piece I want to cover is valuing the process.  Somebody might think it a worthy goal to qualify for the Olympic Trials, and they might even have a sturdy why, and they may fully grasp the process, but if they fail to value that process in and of itself, they are headed for problems.  Notice I use the term value, rather than enjoy or love.  If you do just love every moment of training runs, strength work, PT, travel, and sacrifice….well then GREAT!  However, that is rarely realistic.  Valuing something is different than enjoying it, we certainly often value things we enjoy but you can also value things you don’t necessarily always enjoy.  Valuing something means you find it beneficial, important, worth your time.  You need to value the strength training, you need to know it’s beneficial, important, and therefore worth your time each day it is assigned.  Here’s the bigger part of valuing the process, and this is why I used the phrase in and of itself earlier.  That strength training, that long run, that track session, that sacrifice you made…….needs to hold value whether you end up qualifying for the Olympic Trials or not.  That is the real key here, if you can grasp that you are going to be a better, stronger, more complete, more capable person for truly taking this challenge on then your connection to the tasks is exponentially deeper.  If your connection to the tasks is deeper, your execution of them will be greater, their benefit will be greater, and your performance will be greater.

Two of Pat’s 3 Ps of Performance down.  You’re well on your way if you know the what & why to your Purpose, and have fully defined and value your Process.  Now pack those into your pocket and get ready to be fully present on your journey 😉