The Marathon Runner that’s in all of us

marathon runnerMarathon runner – can you imagine setting out to run 26 miles and 385 yards?

The enormity of the challenge is beyond most of us yet thousands of ordinary people give up their time to take part in something that is one of the most demanding, both physically and psychologically, in order to achieve something that they don’t have to do. It’s bizarre. There is no sense in doing something that is potentially damaging to us – are we mad?

Thousands of people take up this challenge. Why?

marathon runnerGeorge Mallory, whose is famous because he died in 1924 whilst climbing Everest having been seen 800 yards from the summit, when asked why he was doing it said, “Because it is there.” Yet for George, if he made it and no one knows whether he did or not, he knew he would have been the first person to achieve something. Today, taking part in a marathon is nothing new. So why do it?

To be a marathon runner is a personal challenge. It takes a lot of time and effort to get yourself fit enough and the amount of training that you do will be reflected in how fast you run the distance. People need to be committed, resilient and driven to do it. Through the sunshine, cold, rain, sleet and snow. Those who dedicate their lives to running and become great at it will cover the distance between under 2.5 hours whilst those who are regular runners will seek to run it between 3 and 4 hours. Many people will participant simply to cover the distance as a means to raise money for others who are less able.

Of course, what most of us fail to consider is that as a member of the human species, we are all anatomically designed to run long distance – to be a marathon runner. It’s true! It was how we survived in the past when covering long distances was essential for evading life threatening situations or pursuing food. However, for most of us life-threatening situations are fortunately rare and food is for most of the marathon participants is readily available.

Having a purpose; a meaningful reason seems to be the driving force behind why people become a marathon runner. Sometimes it is a habit that was ingrained at a very early age and becomes a way of life that certain people pursue into greatness. For the majority, it is probably a life-changing event whether personally or as a result of something happening to other individuals or groups. Ask a marathon runner why they did it, what might be the answer?

These events spark a change that becomes what drives us to achieve. Whatever the event is that becomes the tipping point for change, it gives the individual the drive and determination to succeed. For most the journey will be difficult and they will suffer pain and injury yet people will pick themselves up and carry on.

This ‘can do’ attitude will ensure that they cross the finish line and receive their medal. The personal pride will be immense and the satisfaction that for many, they will have raised money to change the lives of others who are less fortunate.

Having a reason, a sense of purpose is part of being Mind Fit. What difference would it make to our lives if we could find a reason, beyond personal basic needs, to achieve something in which we added real value? What difference would it make to our job if we were part of something that added value in a meaningful way?

Find the marathon runner in you or at least a real purpose and you will achieve.

What ONE thing ALL Great Golfers have?

Is it a great swing? No, some great swings don’t produce the results the golfer desires, and that is frustrating.

Is it a fabulous putting stroke?  No, because if you still don’t sink putts, you don’t succeed.  If you really want to get on your knees and learn some more technical skills, then fine.

However the real answer lies in having a great mind set – resilient, adaptable and able to block out negative thoughts and negative self-talk.

Sometimes the biggest problem is in your head. You’ve got to believe you can play a shot instead of wondering where your next bad shot is coming from.

Jack Nicklaus

Thanks Jack, but we don’t need you to tell us, we know it! It’s common sense and we tell ourselves all the time. So why does it work sometimes and not others? The simple answer is if you were Mind Fit we guarantee it will improve your golf – great golfers also need to develop the technical part of the game. It is all about focused effort and practice, and so is being in the right mindset when on the course.


It works like this; if you believe that the shot you are about to take is doomed to failure and your focus is on the ball going where it shouldn’t, then that is what is likely to happen. A friend said that he knew that his ball was going to go into a bunker and I could hear him rehearse failure. He was right. It was a perfect shot into the bunker!


Now in addition to imagining failure, many people who play golf focus on the technical side of the game and get annoyed to varying degrees when they are unable to put together in one stroke all the variables that make up a successful action. If that’s you, you’re acting on information overload. You can only focus on one thing, not a hundred things simultaneously.

Be honest, how often do you know exactly what you did that led to a poor shot? Did you blame your stance, your club, the ball, the course, the weather, the ducks …?

We use a process of natural learning to make this clear.

For a moment, can you imagine ( or remember) the amount of focused effort a 4 year old needed just to hit that plastic ball with their first plastic club. Through encouraging them and their unbridled enjoyment, within ½ hour the ball was being hit with every swing. That’s natural learning.


Natural learning is action based and used successfully by the top performers and one of the simplest examples is when we learn to ride a bike. We get on it and do it – sometimes with assistance at first with stabilisers, or a friendly helping hand. Technical knowledge to improve your bike riding comes later. Olympic athletes use this form of learning and spend most of their time practicing one aspect of their sport until they get that part right. Then they put it all together. Most golfers unknowingly, go to play an unsuccessful game. They don’t practice or focus on one input variable at a time so there can be no improvement, and you are setting yourself up to fail. If a shot goes well they put it down to luck – or ‘I’m feeling good today!’

Success depends almost entirely on how effectively you learn to manage the game’s two ultimate adversaries: the course and yourself

Jack Nicklaus 

We can’t help you with the course, but we can with help with you. By being Mind Fit, you have a learnt ability to perform to your optimum in different situations, through ‘can do’ attitudes and behaviours. So it will help your golf, your work and in fact all parts of your life. Most of us like to think we are ‘can do’ people (have you ever said I can’t do that?) but there are other options. Despite being unique and complex people, there are only three options relating to how we behave and perform. You’ve met the first. The other two, ‘can’t do’ and ‘won’t do’ attitudes and behaviours demonstrate a mind where effective performance will be curtailed significantly. So be honest with yourself, what state do you operate from and where would you like to be?

You can go from poor, to good, to great so if you want to play a better game start by conducting your own reality check. Identify exactly what you do at the input end that leads to the result you either want or don’t want. If you don’t know what you are actually doing how can you improve? And one thing, if you believe you’ll be shouting ‘Fore!’ a lot, you best take extra liquids as you’ll be delaying your visit to the 19th.

Mind Fit is about performance and leads to better results.

Get your head right then your game will improve.

If you don’t believe us or Jack Nicklaus, there’s always another bad day on the golf course that might convince you. 

Want to be one of the great golfers? Start with you.

To check where you operate from download the Mind Fit Map. 

If you are on Linked-In, come and join our group Mind Fit Golfers and find out more. We intend to hold some learning events on ranges and courses, and perhaps hold some tournaments – when you’re ready!

No budget for training in today’s climate – really?

You’re in great company if you answer YES to the following question.

Have your employees been on a time management course and still can’t manage time effectively?

The fact is that more than 70% of training failure comes after the training is completed, according to comprehensive ASTD study in 2006 ( . The major factors were that employees didn’t get a chance to apply what they learned soon enough, and there was no effective culture of follow-up and coaching.

You may be surprised but there’s actually nothing new here. Research by George Alliger and Elizabeth Janak (1989) found that the correlation between training and change in the workplace to be poor. More recently the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) in 2007 state it is “….no better than random chance”.

People return to work after the training and soon fall back into their old mindset and habits. The training even though of great quality, invariably results as a waste of time, effort and money.

Kirkpatrick 1959 is recognised as the measurement of training  and in an article “A fresh look after 50 Years” by Kirkpatrick Partners they say “the end is the beginning” ie start with the performance level 4, and work backwards through attitude and behaviour change level 3.

The problem is businesses are putting most of their time into designing, developing and delivering training (Level 1 and Level 2) and it’s no surprise then they only get a fraction of the benefit. They spend hardly any time on the follow-up activities that translate into positive behaviour change and impact on the business (Level 3 and Level 4) .  Some companies turn to psychometric tests which start to address the issue but then mostly end up saying ‘We’ve done the tests, given the feedback, now what?’

It’s not surprising it has evolved this way – it’s cheaper.  The more we look at interventions this way, and the easier and cheaper it becomes from the explosion in Elearning, the more short cuts we’ll take and fall into the same trap. But without an improvement, it’s also a false economy – the short cut doesn’t work.

There is hope as advances in neuroscience and psychology support the unique Mind Fit process. There’s now a simple, proven and cost effective way to shift attitudes, behaviours and mindsets. Importantly for any business is that the change is sustainable and starts immediately following the intervention.

So, what’s the point of developing people in today’s climate? First, the climate doesn’t matter. People are your best asset and with a positive behavioural change they will improve your business.

Growth, in the current unpredictable state of the economy, will only come from your existing resources.


To learn more and how you get into a Mind Fit state take the simplest first step and read the book  Mind Fit For Success , by Graham Williams