Going For Gold

Wow! I am exhausted after staying up late for an epic night of sport.

Cycling, Kayaking, Shooting, Judo, Diving and Gymnastics – Team GB had a cracking day!

I LOVE watching the olympics.

When I was a kid it was a nightmare – 2 weeks of nothing but sport on the telly? The only ‘Going For Gold’ I cared about was the dodgy 80’s lunchtime quiz show with Henry Kelly!

But now I get it!

I understand what a HUGE commitment these athletes make every day, every week, every month, every year. So when I see them on that podium, or even worse just missing it, I’m usually in tears myself.

See, I used to be a competitive archer. Not the type you see in the Olympics, I shot a different style of bow and at different distances.

I started shooting just after I left University. Tim had been competing for years and eventually gave in to my nagging and taught me to shoot, and every weekend we would either be training or competing around the country.

Then I discovered field archery, which is a bit like a game of golf. You shoot round a course of targets, all at different distances, up and down hills etc. It’s a cracking sport!

As I got closer to making GB team selection scores I started taking things more seriously. Training was every night, and during my lunch break. We were competing around Europe as well as in the UK. We never took a holiday that wasn’t for an archery tournament.

The equipment was expensive, but nothing compared to the travel costs!

2003 world indoor archery bronze medal I won 4 British Championships, represented GB 5 times, and won a Team Bronze medal at a World Championships. I still have it in a frame on my desk 🙂

My highest placing at a World Championships was 10th. In hindsight an amazing achievement I am proud of. And yet it marked the point at which I began to think about quitting.

I knew what I’d had to give up to get to that stage. The friends I didn’t have time to see. The family events I’d missed. The job opportunities I’d had to turn down.

If that was what it took to get to the top 10 in the world, what would I have to do to get to number 1?

I never for a second thought I couldn’t get there. The question was whether I wanted to.

And in the end I decided I didn’t.

So I have some idea what the athletes we see on the TV have had to give up to get to where they are.

In corporate life there is a lot of chat about work-life balance. For those at the top of their sporting career there is no such thing.

We live in an age where we believe we can have it all.

Social media has conspired with the magazine industry to convince us that we can all have a great job, quality family time, a perfect house and have time to do yoga and meditate in the morning. All while looking insta-perfect, of course!

But like the athletes at the olympics, we must accept that if there is something we really want, there will be a price to pay.

And often that price comes down to…… time!

If you want to lose a few pounds, you could commit more time to working out. If you want to get a promotion you could spend some time studying for a new qualification. If you want to have a better relationship with your kids you could ring fence some time to spend with them.

But to dedicate time to one area means we have to take time away from another.

There are only 24 hours in a day, so if we want to do more, have more, achieve more, we have to get smarter about how we spend that time.

I don’t regret for one second the time I committed to archery. The experiences I had and the people I met through sport opened my eyes, my mind and my heart to a world rich with opportunity.

It also taught me a lot about the value of time….. it’s possibly your most precious resource, make sure you treat it as such!







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