Your mission, should you choose to accept it
Mission > Method > Motive.
I first decided that I had to work on my weight when I saw myself – and my waistline – on a family film. My middle age had definitely spread! I decided to ask my friend Steve who had recently lost a lot of weight for some advice. He had managed to lose 125 lbs slim down from 25st (~350lbs) to 16st (~225lbs) and was delighted with his new appearance. The answer it seemed, lay with a Slimming club, and strict adherence to their diet plan.
I figured that I needed to have a target, and a friend who was a professional cyclist suggested what that could look like. I hope this isn’t too much information, but his advice was that if you jump up and down and nothing moves (that shouldn’t) then you’re about right.
I knew what I needed to improve, and I was starting to move onto how I was supposed to improve.
“Your mission, should you choose to accept it …” So goes the opening to many a Mission Impossible. Well, now I knew my Mission, and next I needed to get settled on the Method.
I started out by following Steve’s example by joining a local slimming club that I could attend right after work. After getting started, although I achieved some initial wins (or in my case weight losses) the slimming club didn’t hold much excitement. I didn’t find the challenge of chatting about diets and menus how to avoid eating peanuts at parties, and the other topics of popular discussion at the club very engaging – but maybe that’s just me.
Instead, I spent the money on a gym membership near my work and started to get along for a regular lunchtime session. This particular gym was managed by an ex-professional Power Lifter, and he was very experienced in setting some great exercise routines, and now I had found something more exciting to focus on, and in addition to seeing some continued weight loss, I was also starting to see some muscle tone and definition emerging too.
The next thing that I embarked on was a tentative experiment with an occasional commute to work on a bicycle. This soon turned into a regular commute and before long I had sold my motorbike and started commuting regularly on my bicycle with a weekly mileage of around 100 miles. So, I had my Mission, and now I had my Method.
“The hallmark of excellence, the test of greatness, is consistency”
~ Jim Tressel
I knew that the next thing I would need to ensure that this journey would continue was to find a suitable Motive to consistently maintain my enthusiasm.
The motive showed up unexpectedly after I joined a local cycle race. It was a Mountain Bike race and was back in the day when this was a fairly new thing. Well, I managed to come in about halfway down in the field, and I was really quite encouraged by that. I also discovered a new friend who was about my age – I’ll call him Steve – who had recently started Mountain Bike racing too, and we finished in a very similar time so that was more encouragement.
Before long I had purchased a new mountain bike – a Kona Explosive Pro – from my pro-cycling friend when he sold his bike off at the end of a season of racing. Steve and I were now meeting up every weekend with a bunch of other interested Mountain Bikers and we started getting along to races regularly together too.
“Motivation gets you going – discipline keeps you growing.”
~ John Maxwell
The final piece of the jigsaw came after I had been trying to find some information on how to become a better cyclist to improve my performance at the races. In this exploration, I seemed quite unable to find any suitably helpful advice, and in the end, the only source I could locate was the British Cycling Federation Cycling Coaching Course. This was back in the day when Chris Boardman and Graeme Obree were challenging each other for the hour record, and Peter Keen was coming to prominence as a Cycling Coach.
I discovered that I had come to cycling too late to do anything particularly spectacular as a competitive cyclist, but I thoroughly enjoyed getting fully engaged in my local cycling scene in mountain bike races, road races and time trials, posting a low 24 minutes in my 10 mile, and 65 minutes in my 25 mile Time Trials.
“You will never change your life until you change something you do daily.”
~ John Maxwell
In the end, I completed my coaching training and I was appointed as Cycling Coach to the cycling club I had joined and carried on to spend many a contented mile commuting, racing and coaching and with an annual mileage somewhere around 8,000 miles a year.
My Mission Impossible had been accepted, a Method adopted to achieve it, Motivation found to pursue it with self-Mastery to find the discipline to maintain the mission over the long term. What’s your Mission Impossible, what method and motive are you going to employ, and what self-mastery will be needed to help you to get there?
About Roger Fairhead
Roger is a Leadership specialist and uses the PRIZE Winning Leadership model to help leaders improve their effectiveness and that of their teams, through remote and on-site delivery of keynotes, group training events and individual coaching sessions.
He is the author of several books including "PRIZE Winning Leadership" and “Personal Productivity Planner”, a Chartered Engineer, a Fellow of the Institute of Leadership and Management and a Director of the Global Leadership Network UK with extensive experience in Project Management and Sales.
“He is articulate, tracks complex issues with ease and has an incredible gift for raising pearls of wisdom out of the murky depths of people and process.” His passion is to help people to learn effective leadership skills to lead their teams to capitalize on their strengths and passions to realize their dreams.
Roger also invests into the dreams of families in the world’s underserved communities to offer them small loans that empower them to invest in their future, to provide for their families and give back to their communities.