I was recently invited to go down to Queenstown and speak at the Sealord annual conference, sharing my perspectives as a professional athlete on the topic of Good to Great. It is a very interesting topic, from both a corporate and an athlete point of view. For Sealord they have had a very successful 2014 and they are looking to build on that momentum and have an even better 2015. As an athlete I have found that it is very easy to be motivated during time of challenges, usually because you are sidelined and watching other people achieve what you desperately want to. Many athlete stories are those of redemption, rebuild and beating the odds, and these are very inspiring. The story that isn’t told often is how do you remain motivated when you are already succeeding, how do you stay driven when a big goal has already been reached? I distilled this down to one key factor: Constant Dissatisfaction with the status quo, using the example that when I obtained my first professional podium at Busselton 70.3 in 2013, the first thought when I went over the finish line was ‘What do I need to do to win’. This is a common trait amongst high performing athletes, some examples I gave were: o When Sam Webster, who achieved 3 medals at the Commonwealth Games, arrived back in the country and was interviewed he stated ‘We’re never satisfied until we win gold in every race – so we need to keep pushing till we find that little bit extra’ o Valeria Adams has been at the top of her game, achieving Olympic, Commonwealth and World gold medals, however she still strives to get better every time o The All Blacks in their second Bledisloe match achieved a massive score against Australia – but again in the post-match interview Ritchie highlighted that they still needed to work on discipline To help the Sealord team sustain motivation and drive for their 2015 goals I presented four key strategies that I use in my day-to-day athletic life. There are many parallels between the corporate world and the athletic arena, these strategies are:

1) A great support network

– I use the example of my swim squad at Birkenhead, it is hard to get out of bed at 5am, but knowing I have a great bunch of friends waiting at the pool makes it that much easier – Very often corporate environments become Siloed, it is imperative to have the right attitudes at work and create a high performing culture that can be sustained

2) Visible goals

– I have pictures up on my fridge, in my room, in the training room, all reminding me of my goals – At work there needs to be clear alignment between work people do daily and how this affects the company’s greater goal and purpose, best represented visually, at Fonterra I have all teams with Vision Statements up on their desks

3) Accountable

– For me this is accountable to my coach and ensuring I record all relevant metrics associated with my training i.e. HR, perceived effort, biometric surveying etc. – The KPIs and Metrics you have at work must be communicated regularly and people must know how their work impacts these metrics, how do you know how you compare against your competitors? How do your customers feel about you?

4) Celebrating success

– Something I need to work on, my thought process after Busselton should have been to celebrate my first professional podium and then move onto what I need to do to win – Spend some time celebrating your teams successes, not all of them, but the major ones – it is a great way to refocus energy on the next goals For more information about what I can offer corporates and individuals, please contact me or click on the link below: www.annarusselltriathlete.co.nz/anna-russell/
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The ‘fantastic’ idea to enter and compete in Mandurah 70.3 Half Ironman was brought about by a combination of factors… 1. Wanted to go somewhere sunny and warm for a holiday! 2. How do we tie in that holiday with seeing my parents who live in Perth? 3. Wanted to do something cool while on holiday… most people would choose a skydive or bungy… but nooo I had to choose something that I now realise takes quite a bit of planning, preparation, and dedication!!! The preparation/training for the race comes in the form of a 16 week training program courtesy of my sister Anna (a current pro ironman triathlete). It is generally made up of 6 days of training a week, 3 – 5 runs a week, 4 cycles a week, and 3 swims a week. On the heaviest weeks of training this equates to about 13 – 16 hours!! So it is essentially a juggling act between working as a Physio, training, eating and sleeping, and trying not to get injured or sick! I trained in the pool during the week at Olympic pools and fitness centre, Newmarket. Cycling during the week was spent in an old community hall in Orakei at Paul Leech’s wind trainer sessions, and cycling on the weekends took me anywhere from the hills of the Waitaks to the green pastures and undulating terrain of Clevedon/ Maraetai.. with such hills as ‘Sandstone’ or ‘Twilight’ for those who know them! Running sessions are closer to home. Along the waterfront from St Heliers, and up into the hills around Glover Park and back through to Mission Bay; or even the odd trail run with my Sister. Setting the scene: Mandurah, a seaside town about a 45 min drive south of Perth, probably quite similar to Mt Maunganui (see pic below) 10th November (race day), temperatures beginning to reach the late 20’s – early 30’s and a dry heat with a prevailing wind. It was like being blasted by a hot hair dryer. The race starts with a 2km swim though the canals of Mandurah home to multimillion-dollar apartments and a few bull sharks!! Then through to T1 (transition 1) and off on the bike for 90km up the coast on a relatively flat road/ highway, the prevailing wind being the main thing to contend with here! After transitioning at T2… off the bike, into run shoes and visor and out for the 21km run (half Marathon). From the brief paragraph above it makes this race sound all to easy and very short… but not so! The whole race from start to finish will take just under 4 hours for the elite athletes, to 7 or 8 hours for the slower of the age group athletes. I completed this beast in 4 hours 50 minutes! The main expenses were flights to Perth, race entry (approx $400-500 NZ), and a forever increasing food bill as training started to increase! Since Mandurah I have managed to ‘get the bug’ as they say, and have trained up for another 70.3 Half Ironman in Cairns, Australia. I completed there on June 8th this year. After giving myself a week off after Cairns I was straight back online to book my next race, which happens to be the first one on home soil, Auckland 70.3
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