95% Commitment Rule

Run - 18 Jul 2015

Have you ever wondered why you didn’t win? Or why that project you were trying to deliver wasn’t successful?

You committed to the training, the planning, and the preparation to achieve your goal, so why didn’t you?

As we all know, hindsight is an enabler. It allows one to critically assess performance. Looking back at your failures gives you insight into what you need to do to succeed down the track. Yes, many times success is personal and we all have different goals and ambitions. But, in the context of this article I’m talking about success in terms of winning; winning a game, winning a new piece of business, or completing a remarkable piece of meaningful work. I’m looking at success in black or white terms; ultimate success is winning.

Time and time again I’ve watched as people and businesses get painstakingly close to success. But for some reason, they don’t quite get to the top of the mountain they’re trying to climb. Okay, yes, there are always winners and losers. But, I’m interested in why winners win.

This can be described by the 95% rule.

 So, here is how it works.

I’ve always been a runner, and admittedly I’ve had some really good results over the past decade or so. However, as I entered the senior ranks 6 years ago I got given a sharp lesson from New Zealand’s top runners - their speed and strength seemed almost impossible to match. But I stuck with running and continued to train hard. My performances have improved incrementally year on year.  So why in my senior years have I not had the success I’m craving - I haven’t won a major race.

 I train really hard, running everyday. So are my failures represented by not being mentally ‘tough’ compared to the other few athletes at the top? Or, do I not have the talent they do? Why don’t I make the huge gains in performance like other runners?

Buller Marathon was a great experience, not because I placed second, but because my coach Don provoked a simple and profound thought. “Okay, you’ve had your fun doing your own flashy workouts and training, now it’s time to listen to me and get back to the basics” he said. Initially, I didn’t understand what this meant, but I said okay and gave him complete control over my training. 

The ‘new’ way of training involves consistent mileage week to week, keeping my easy runs easy, and each week doing two workouts… nothing flashy to see here. However, the one thing that has changed is the volume and quality - it’s big and fast, bigger than what I ever thought I could do! 

Okay, so here’s my point. Getting trapped into the mindset of thinking you’ve given 100% is the fundamental error - because you haven’t. Giving 100% of a task is only realised by ones own perceptions. That is, you can only gauge what 100% is, based from your experiences. Realising you’ve actually only giving 80 or 90 percent enables you to focus on specific areas of improvement.

 Within 4 weeks I’ve noticed immediate gains; more strength endurance, better speed, and most incredibly my pain threshold is directly linked to the amount of training I do - the more I do, the more I can tolerate.

But let me make myself clear. I’m not saying to increase performance the requirement is to just do more. No, that would be suicide. I’m saying there are advantages to realising that you’ve given less of yourself to a task than you thought. Reaching the real 100% of yourself will be the toughest thing you do. But surely though, that sounds like a better option than reaching 95% and not succeeding?