2022 Part 2: Three Questions to ask for a better shot next time!

I’ve been in the room for a fair few memorable team captain speeches.

But, perhaps for the pure simplicity of it, Jodie Williams’ 2021 European Indoor Champs speech is the stickiest.

Two words: Back yourself.

It sticks all the more because of what I know (who really knows what someone has or is going through?) of Jodie’s story – her growth, the setbacks and challenges I’ve seen her overcome from afar and her energy and authenticity which is just difficult not to love!

In that Championships in Torun, Poland, she listened to her own words, backed herself and was rewarded with a shiny new PB of 51.73 seconds and a ‘brilliant bronze’. Watch her podium performance here.

As I continue from last week’s post reflecting on my 2022 season and how to move forward positively from it, that captain’s speech inspires the the first question I’ll be asking myself in future as I move from one season to the next….

[1] Do you back yourself?

Because in 2021, I didn’t back myself… not until the outdoor season anyway.

But that same year (2021), with the Olympic Games as my motivation, backing myself was not an option; it was a legally binding mandate my body and mind couldn’t defy.

Unfortunately in 2022, that mandate didn’t exist. Nor did the right attitude of trust and belief in myself and people.

There’s a lot to unpack here regarding ‘backing yourself’ and attitude around this, especially when belief and reality don’t align, but addressing this is way more than a quick blog post – so right now, I won’t even try! But perhaps in a future post or podcast?

Have you listened to Define Your Success Podcast?

Next, let’s address the second question…

Abigail Irozuru of England Athletics training during Team Englands Birmingham 2022 Immersion Camp – July 27th 2022 in Loughborough. Photo by Chris Reynolds / Team England

[2] Do you have a clear vision?

At the end of Summer 2021 came the end of my more than decade-long Olympic journey and dream, and the start of…

Well, who knows?

Not me, because I didn’t define it!

I didn’t define what my next thing looked like.

I just sort of… fell into 2022 winter training because I was good at it. Because I’ve been jumping for so long and Paris is ‘only three years away’…

Doh!

Now, of course, there are myriad reasons for my disastrous poor 2022 season.

(I’m actually smiling at the term ‘disastrous’ when I still managed to compete at two out of three major championships this year, including the Home Commonwealth Games!)

(I’m also silently chastising myself at the thought that there are young girls out there wishing, working and praying to make teams for England and Great Britain and here’s me terming the season ‘disastrous’ despite all I’ve achieved.)

Sigh.

This perfectionistic mindset of mine.

Anyway, let me lighten the language (let’s get some positive self talk in…or at least neutral, Abs!). This year – 2022 – hasn’t been what I would have planned for nor expected.

But I didn’t plan or expect. I didn’t have a clear vision.

(Do you have a clear vision? If not, maybe that’s your challenge for this week. Clarify the vision. Write it down. And make sure it sparks a fire of passion in you so fierce there’s no flood of disappointment that can put it out! ;))

[3] Are you passionate about the vision?

And about that spark…

My Olympic vision had burned so intensely, even in my short retirement (which I genuinely enjoyed a lot*), I just had to get back to the sandpit – no excuses, against all odds.

But once I’d achieved my Olympic dream in 2021, I didn’t relight the flame.

No vision. No burning passion. No victory!

Well, that may not be the case for everyone, but it may certainly have been the case for me this year.

But let me tell you what, though. Experiencing the lows and losses of this 2022 season has definitely hit me in an unexpectedly positive way.

I’ve got my fire back.

~ Abs x

*Next week, in the final part to this series – Part Three – I’ll share one final thought of what I’ve learned so far from 2022, specifically relating to this statement on retirement.

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