A boxer asked me the other day if I felt a little down after winning silver in the World Cup. I loved the question and in order to answer it, I want to share with you our shared experience.
When he first arrived, he had 3 left feet. He said that he wanted to have a boxing match and didn’t care how long it took.
Day day in and out he trained 5-6 days a week. I’d give him one thing to focus on and he would spend 17 rounds completely embracing the training. After 2-3 weeks I’d give him an adjustment to the focus and he’d do it all again.
It was the most beautiful display of discipline and desire. He trusted his training process, my guidance and wanted to do whatever it took to reach his goal.
When I started playing rugby, I immediately set a goal to play in the 1998 World Cup. I asked coaches for brutally honest feedback and began the task of training to make my goal reality. I trained 6 days a week, studied rugby, fundraised, asked endless questions and did whatever it took to get playing time with better players. I did this for 4 years and made my goal. It took immense sacrifices and all were worth it. Our team took silver at the 98 World Cup in Amsterdam. When I returned home I fell into a pretty deep depression. I went back to training but I didn’t understand what I was experiencing. I struggled with motivation. I had accomplished this supposedly amazing thing that I had put my life on hold for and now what?
This boxer experienced the same phenomena. He sacrificed eating certain types of food, hanging out with friends, drinking and a multitude of other things. After 2 years, was ready and had his match. For two weeks after he was irritable and depressed. He had accomplished a major goal, and now what? He wasn’t sure what he was feeling.
We all tend to prepare for a big event and rarely, if ever for the aftermath. I’m not certain if it’s possible to prepare or if it would make a difference. I do know that it’s helpful to know the let down feeling is a common phenomena that is a normal experience.
It helps to go through the let down for a bit, then it’s time to set your sites on a new accomplishment. There are many things to look forward to and improve upon even after completing a major milestone achievement.