Lessons learned from success are often not so subtle

Lessons learned from success are often not so subtle

I wanted to share some very kind words a good friend and associate from my summer program wrote in an article for www.greatsouthbaymag.com.  Jimi Grover is a high school math teacher on Long Island, NY and is the Racing Director for the Point O’Woods Program as well as Junior Racing Coach and a number of other high level coaching gigs for pay as well as volunteer.  I’ve known Jimi for over 30 years since he started sailing as he is now a proud father of 5 and has become an impressively thoughtful and creative coach and mentor.
Jimi Grover reflection,

Jimi Grover reflection, summer 2016

In his article (attached, orig. found at link above), Jimi asked what I considered “the pinnacle of my success in my career.”  At the time I answered I quickly steered the thread to that of my son who gives me pause at every twist and turn of his career in sports and sailing.  But, on a deeper level I knew Jimi was looking for something ‘I had done’ and I felt compelled to revisit the question which requires a more thoughtful response rather than my initial reaction to answer.
Success can be one of the most challenging lessons in that you “feel” as though you’re at the top of your game.  What must be understood however that at the top your potential (energy) is most likely converted to kinetic by virtue of “the constant downward pull.”  High places have potential but the laws of physics clearly warrant the understanding of “the gravity” of the situation.  E.g. Potential energy is transferred to kinetic energy.  Physics may not be your forte but the principles are parallel I can assure you At “the Top,” particularly without awareness or direction the next step(s) can be, “all down hill from there.”
In-between the summer of 1992 and the Sunfish World Championship that September, I changed my preparation approach.   In particular with help from a coach, I practiced techniques which shifted my mental game and that was all the difference.  I went on to win 4 of the 8 races at the Worlds and post a convincing victory.
Upon arriving home that September I felt on top of the World and certainly believed I had broken the code but as quickly winter set in so different did my shift in fortune. Grandiose plans and naiveté with success led to one of my worst years with respect to competition, plans of career aspirations and sailing endeavors.
In retrospect, awareness is a key element. There was still much “I didn’t know that I didn’t know,” which is a very dangerous place for anyone. There were many life lessons that followed and stories along the way but the moral is this story is, “the moment you think you know it all, make sure you have packed your own parachute.”
Tips / What I would do differently today –
1) Have accountability partner, mentor or coach if your sights are on accomplishment outside “The Bell Curve.”
2) Build around your strengths and practice of development.
3) Never think you have it all figured out and always seek perspective
4) Practice positive language.  Be mindful that this is perhaps step #1, aka., #highground thinking or mentality, others might say, “mastery.”
To keep the momentum of success rolling always look forward to enjoy the practice and process, in that, belief finds its way.

And that is a Starboard Passage – PaulJon

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