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May 2007

Hello Members and Friends!

Welcome to May and the beginning of spring weather. It looks like winter is finally behind us and we can now look forward to warm and wonderful afternoons. After enjoying some of the mandatory outdoor physical activities, it’s nice to relax and catch up on some reading and (if you are like me) some writing. So, much thanks to Jim Wingrove for last month’s article

If you’re interested in spending some of your spring afternoons to put your own thoughts, insights and experience into words for the benefit of your colleagues throughout Canada, opportunities abound. I would welcome your participation in our newsletter by way of a written contribution to be published in the coming months. As well, GAMA Canada has arranged with Advocis and FORUM magazine to sponsor a regular column specifically for managers. You are encouraged to create an article (approximately 850 words) on management topics (recruiting, retention, selection; training and education; coaching and leadership; business development) and forward them to my attention (michael.touron@cumis.com) for consideration.

For this month’s article, I would like to introduce you to Cary Mullen. Cary is an Olympic and World Cup champion who now uses his experience as an athlete training for performance excellence in his career as a motivational speaker and business/personal coach.

Read on and enjoy your spring.

Michael Tourond,
Editor and Director

Are You Shackled by Perfection?

By Cary Mullen

Last week, a friend of mine, Gary Brook, asked me a strange question. His question was, “Cary, you have spent most of your life training hard with an intense focus on international ski racing – sorry for my blunt question, but why didn’t you win a World Cup earlier in your career?”

While it seems crazy to think that I could have actually achieved my goal sooner, I knew immediately that this was true. I thought about his question for a minute and replied, “Before I was able to win, I had to first understand what was holding me back from becoming a champion. There were two things and they were actually linked.

“The first was that I needed to learn to flow more and perform to the best of my abilities when it mattered most – on race day. I needed to quit trying so hard to force things on the day of a competitive event. I had to stop getting in my own way and instead enjoy the challenge.

“The second and most important thing that kept me from winning was not being aware of my beliefs that were actually holding me back.” Gary’s brow furrowed together as he interrupted me, asking, “Wait a second, how can a belief hold you back?” I told him, “Let me explain. I was surprised to discover that I had a limiting belief that everything needed to be exactly PERFECT for me to be able to win. Believe me, this little subconscious belief was a literal brick wall keeping me from victories. I had idealized “Winning’ to the extent that if one little thing went awry in my warm-up runs, I thought ‘I couldn’t possibly win now.’ I believed that if I wasn’t skiing perfect on every single training run that morning, then there was no way that I would win.” Gary was nodding his head now, beginning to understand how I had been shackled by perfection.

Comments or questions? Contact: Editor, Michael Tourond