March 15, 2018 | by Andrew Horsfield

Success has no middle ground

One morning late in 2013 Melissa Breen woke to learn that Athletics Australia had decided to cut her funding. The peak body for athletics in Australia deemed it was unlikely Breen would contest an Olympic or World Championship Final, so decided to direct their dollars into athletes they believed were more suitable.

So Melissa Breen made a choice.

Despite her frustration and feeling disillusioned at the decision, she overcame her emotions and made the choice to focus on the future she desired. She didn’t complain about why she should have got the money or that she had beaten others who secured some funding. She didn’t lose control or espouse previous race results that proved she could run suitable qualifying times.

She went back to work and became Australia’s fastest woman.

At the State Championships in Canberra in 2014, Breen ran a time of 11.11 for the 100m, breaking the long-standing record of 11.12, set in 1994 by Melinda Gainsford Taylor. She reinforced her elite ability later that day by beating Olympic Gold medalist Sally Pearson. She sent back a clear message to Athletics Australia that things were working.

Learning about losing her funding, Melissa Breen didn’t go on a tirade seeking blame, criticising her coach or questioning the selection committee. She went back to training. She put her skills to work and directed her energy, attention and effort, forward.

A critical asset you must acquire if you want to advance.

Success has no middle ground. When the defining moment comes - either you define the moment or it defines you. Choose well and we move forward, choose poorly and we drop back and often face even harder choices. Don’t choose at all and you passively accept whatever comes your way. Making good choices is critical to making results happen.

When we make the choice to get the job done we must also accept the stretch associated with improvement. The results we seek only get realised when we pursue what we care about and commit ourselves to the moments that matter.

Especially in the difficult moments that so often define our performance.


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The F word

I failed today. In fact I have been most of this week. Things I attempted to try didn't work. Ideas I tried to cultivate didn't eventuate. Despite some significant effort I have come up short.


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Build your assets

High achievers continually evolve. They continually evolve by building new skills that augment existing capability. This matters because success takes the highest levels of personal leadership.


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Most of the valuable work we do involves fear. The brave, successful and admirable people who make things happen are not fearless. They lean into fear and learn how to manage their emotion.