We love the big moments and, over the next week or so we’ll get to see a lot of them as we watch Olympians do amazing things on their way to the medal stand. For a young athlete the gap between where they are and that Olympic champion can seem so big. It’s tempting to look for the “key” the one thing that was the secret to their success in the hope that they too can make that leap.
When the goal is big or far away it can feel like the next steps need to be big ones. But, as Dr Noa Kageyama pointed out in a blog post last week its the “aggragated effect of marginal gains”, the snowball effect, that makes the difference. In 2010 the British cycling team Team Sky set out to win the Tour De France by 2015. A big goal when you consider that no British cyclist had ever won the event in it’s nearly 100 year history. Two years later in 2012 Team Sky took home the title with both the first and second place riders. They did it by focusing on what they call, the aggregation of marginal gains. Simply put, rather than going for big gains in their training they looked for 1% improvement in everthing they did; 1% improvement in training, in nutrition, in sleep, in time management, etc. That 1% across all those areas proved to be transformative.
We sometimes think we need to take giant steps to reach a goal. But, if you follow the back story of most of the Olympic athletes this week you’ll see it’s more about the aggregation of marginal gains – small intentional next steps that led to the big break throughs.
So, where’s your next step, your 1%? What little change can you make in your training or your sleep or your nutrition or your thinking that helps open thing up just a little more? Go for it! 1% at a time.