Focus and Effort. Those are the two things I am dialing back into after a little hiatus.
I was at the gym after work today doing my Thursday treadmill incline workout. It's not a big quality workout day, but still it has it's own purpose in my training week. My nagging leg issue was acting up and this required focus to determine if a different stride might help or if I should back off and finish the workout on the bike. As I neared the half way mark of the workout I decided to play it safe and switch to the bike, which then required yet another kind of effort and focus. I figured out what level of effort I needed to give on the bike in order to get my heart rate in a certain zone so that I could achieve the purpose of this particular workout. This doesn't come naturally to me on the bike because I haven't spent enough time on it lately to only go by feel, so the heart rate data was coaching my effort and I had to pay attention.
I had 30 minutes total on the bike to finish out my 60 minute workout. I was so dialed in that when I finally looked at the time I saw that I 22 minutes had already gone by--only 8 minutes to go. I could not believe it. I had been so focused that the time had slipped away. When my watch buzzed and my workout was complete I got off the bike and laid on the floor. I've had four workouts now where I engaged my focus and effort to the exclusion of everything else. And each one was glorious. Each time I felt successful. I have always seen success as something out in front of me and I realized, laying there on the floor, that in my vision of success you never get there. How sobering is that? I realized there on the floor that I felt different after each of those workouts, and I realized that the foreign feeling I was experiencing was success.
Maybe success isn't this one place you arrive after years of back breaking work. And even if you did--then what? A big celebration, you set up shop and now you're just there? Do you continue to hustle? Do you sit back and relax? How did I think this worked? Maybe success is way more subtle than that. Maybe success isn't something you chase and catch after all; maybe success comes and finds you. It comes and finds you alone on the floor of the gym after 30 minutes on a bike. And not because you did anything that looks like anything to anyone, but because you did something that looks like something to you.
The equation is so frickin' simple: Focus + Effort = Success. And it applies everywhere, from learning to bake, to raising a kid, to showing up for your workouts. And the best part is--focus and effort are entirely up to us.
Focus and effort applied consistently to what you do is when success appears and sits down next to you, or in my case lays down next to me on the gym floor. And if success could talk I imagine it might say something like this:
"Hi, I'm Success. I'm that satisfied, complete feeling you're experiencing right now. I'm here because you summoned me with your focus and effort, and now that you know how it works I look forward to teaming up with you all over your life."
Ha! Me too, Success.