FC91: What Does it Mean to Win and Be at Your Best Feat. Josh Cassidy

Rest. Recoup. Refocus. Race. – Josh Cassidy

Hi, and welcome back to the star player academy show, episode 91.

This is Marilyn Wo, I help serious athletes like you get your mind back in the game.

What does it mean to win? Is winning the only thing you see when you think of peak performance or elite athlete? To win has many meanings. Win may mean you come first in everything you do, which is a selfish gesture or way of thinking.

Thus, you must understand that sometimes you have to let others come first in the game, where there is only one spot to be first in the game, I’m sure you don’t reach that top spot all the time. In this case or rather meaning of win, it means you don’t win all the time.

On the other hand, win may also mean to succeed. Succeed is a strong word that poses a good purpose and meaning behinds its definition. And I must say, elite athletes think win, but they consider succeed. When they run a marathon or compete in any race, their win is to complete, the ranking or position as compared to the rest is a goal they set for themselves. In this case, they win as long as they complete the race.

Win may also mean to triumph. Win also means to become successful. When a person is successful, he does well while succeeding, and arriving at his goal. Win means to prevail. Prevail is a big word, since it means you must overcome obstacles to triumph, succeed, and win through your goal.

Win means to be triumphant. Win is victory, success, and so forth. Yet, the ultimate meaning of win is gain, earn, secure, attain, collect, accomplish, and acquire.

As I’ve mentioned in yesterday’s episode, to gain, to earn and accomplish, you need exercises and diet plans that will help build strength, muscle, staying power, endurance, and the like. Increasing exercises after setting up a regimen is a common gesture acted out by ace athletes.

They learn to grow, expand, and achieve their goals by applying efforts. Still, elite athletes learn from failures, thus using human tools to achieve. Elite athletes realize they must earn what they want rather than sit and wait for it to happen. As they earn, elite athletes realize they deserve what they achieve.

Elite athletes work to build confidence, security, self-assurance, and so forth while protecting their interest and plans to achieve. Elite athletes attain their goals while reaching for their limits and achieving through conquers. Elite athletes often mange their exercise regimens and diets, while striving to do better.

Elite athletes keep reality in mind as they work toward their goals. On one spectrum, romance novels are idealisms, which romanticize, use impracticality, and optimisms, while on the other end, elite athletes remain constant with realism, actuality, authenticity, truth, certainty, veracity, and so forth.

If you want to be an elite athlete reaching your maximum potential, you need to start with thinking, or your thoughts. The mind has to conform to wanting your goals. You can sit down and idealize all day, but until you conclude your meaning, purpose, goals, plans, and the like and then put forth the effort to achieve, you are moving nowhere near your dream.

A peak performer athletes train hard. Training hard does not mean neglecting your responsibilities. I know you have lots to juggle in your daily life, studies, work, some of you parenthood. I know the pain, that is why you have to start setting goals and plans that can help you reach your long-term goal; and even with that you still need to know why you want to reach the goal.

One of the mistakes people make is picturing idols as self. Idols are icons, statues, gods, deities, which are, considered as heroes, stars, or pin-ups. There are many many talented athletes who go the extra mile to be in this competitive environment because they want to be like those sports stars out there, to be idolised and worship.

Allen Iverson, a former NBA professional basketball player was once criticised for missing team practices and he responded by saying, “We’re sitting here, I’m supposed to be the franchise player, and we’re in here talking about practice.”

A franchise player is an athlete who is not simply the best player on their team, but a player that the team can build their “franchise” or team around for the foreseeable future. The misunderstanding that a franchise player is only “the best player on a team” disregards the fact that an inordinately bad team will undoubtedly still employ a player with superior skills, relative to his team.

However, such a player could be so bad in comparison to players at large that labeling such a player a franchise player would be inappropriate. It is an elite status, but it is not necessarily a singular position. So in this case for Iverson, what he said somehow gives people the impression that he is just there to fill the numbers, he doesn’t find it worth his efforts to be at practice anyway.

Iverson is merely using a fraction of his capabilities by missing practices and just basking in the spotlight of raging fans.

If you want unrealistic worships, thus you are on the wrong track. The goal is to be you and work for what you want.

Today, we will focus on Josh Cassidy. He is always on his relentless pursuit for something more than just medals. If you check out his blog at joshcassidy.com, you will see that he has 75 over medals from the time he was born. I will also leave this transcript and the necessary links in the show notes for you to browse and check out more, so after this show just hop on to starplayeracademy.com/91 to find out more.

And back to Josh Cassidy, since birth, he was diagnosed with neuroblastoma cancer in the spine and abdomen. Although he became cancer free sometime later, it left his legs partially paralysed and that left him with only one option, which is to overcome obstacles in his daily life at a young age.

I’m just taking this off from his website about page and his link is just right in the show notes.

So at the age of 15, Josh was approached by a National team coach visiting his hometown on business. By coincidence or fate, the meeting in the restaurant got him into the racing world, as well as his first racing wheelchair which coach Bob Schrader lent him.

Inspired by watching Canadian legend Jeff Adams during the 2000 Paralympic Games, he decided to take the sport of wheelchair racing seriously, with international aspirations. He made his first National team in 2006. With lofty goals in mind, Josh competed in his first Paralympic Games in Beijing, 2008.

The adrenaline rush and pride to compete for his country in front of 90,000 live spectators in the ‘Bird’s Nest’ is an honour few will ever be able to fathom. While he didn’t medal in his first Games, he learned many lessons from the experience.

His greatest achievement there was in a semi final where Josh recorded the 4th fastest time in the 5000m in Paralympic Games history. He came away driven harder towards his goals over the next four years, with the help of his longtime coach Amanda Fader.

After Beijing, Josh worked harder to become a real international threat, with the help of Amanda Fader and a new strength coach, Wayne Burke. Josh has won several major International road races. His first notable performance was at the London Marathon in 2010

In 2012 Josh gave the best performance of his career to date, winning the prestigious Boston Marathon, where he recorded the fastest time ever set by a man in a wheelchair – 1:18:25.

Josh’s performance in Boston showed that he was on track for medals at the 2012 London Paralympic Games. In the weeks leading up, he was recording times in training on par with the world records. During the week of the Games, Josh was untimely ill and on antibiotics.

Frustrated at the odds with his given situation, but determined to succeed, Josh gave everything in every race. On the final day Josh managed a 5th place finish in the 800m, after recovering from collision with another racer. The Games were an inconceivably huge disappointment for Josh with unfortunate circumstances.

They weren’t the results he was hoping for, but if anyone knows about overcoming adversity, it is Josh. He is driven to obtain medal(s) at the next Paralympic Games, in Rio. Josh is always looking for ways to improve, and is working to reach his full potential as an athlete. He has increased the number of people in his support network, and is focussed on achieving perfection in all aspects of his game going into Rio.

Josh works hard training, up to twice a day, 6 days a week during the busiest part of the season. In one year Josh will cover almost 75,000kms… a distance equivalent to the width of Canada coast to coast.

Dubbed by many of his fellow competitors as “the toughest racer” in the sport, Josh Cassidy takes pride in his personal drive and work ethic. His mantra “there’s nothing I cant do! “, is a testament to the lifestyle he lives and has become a creed passed on to others through years of motivational speaking, community engagement and humanitarian work.

By the way, this is taken off his blog and you can check out his articles further on joshcassidy.com.

You can see from his races that Josh doesn’t win all the time, and also he can be ill yet still driven to go for his races. He has an innate motivation that stems from his love for the sport and his singular reason of doing something out of his comfort zone.

If you read his blog, you will see posts of his tough races, winning one year and losing it in another. And mind you, his races are not easy. His competitors are also just as strong as him in their minds and body. He was also primed to win the London Olympics but came back empty handed. This was what he said in his blog post titled “After London Thoughts”:

“Right now the Games are done, and it is sort of sinking in. It was an AMAZING experience, in SO many ways.. but I came for more than the experience, I came for medals. I knew it was going to be tough, and I knew there was a chance I could medal in everything or nothing. But I didn’t really expect to come home empty handed.

Sure, the bad health and antibiotics played a huge role… I wasn’t expecting that either. It is what it is. I did everything I could. Busted my rear end off the last four years, and had the craziest most intense year of my life. So focused and doing EVERYTHING to try and be perfect in my preparation for the Games… I think I was… at least I can’t think of anything I could have done better.. and I think a lot.”

Then he went on to say this: “I think with all the stuff I’ve gone through this year, the amount of energy it has taken to BELIEVE in the positive, and use my mind over matter to come out on top, has been so exhausting. Even though it was worth it, and what I had to do.. i just can’t be bothered to try for a bit. Just allow myself a few days to be down and upset. And then hit the reset button and move forward again.”

This shows that even a season athlete who has trained and competed for 12 years has succeeded, failed and felt exhausted and can’t be bothered to try for a bit. It’s normal that sometimes you will not compete in the same way as you practise.

But as much as athletes like Josh expect to win every time he competes, he is always learning more and more about himself every time he competes. He is an elite and successful athlete because of what he is willing to go through not because he wins a gold medal.

The tough training is the same as anyone in the same situation as him. The amount of energy he needs to put in to lead to the results he wants is the same as any other competitor out there. There are times he dread it as well. Things don’t go smoothly for him all the time.

So StarPlayers, it’s important to win, but it’s more important to be at your best, and it’s most important to know yourself and what’s your best in whatever situation you are in. If you fail, it doesn’t mean you did not do your best. You go back, hit the reset button and move forward again, just as Josh Cassidy said.

You have heard from his story today that although he has broken records before, he has also lost races after that. He doesn’t worry about whether he will do better or not during his races, he tells himself he is always primed to set up an attack in every race whether he feels like it or not, whether he is sick or he is in good health, it’s his mentality that set him up for his race.

It’s only after the race that he evaluates what he has done better or worse and what he can do better in the next race. That’s the process every competitive athlete should take, and I hope you will as well.

With that, we have come to the end of today’s episode.

Before you go, I have a quote for you by Josh Cassidy, he said, “Rest. Recoup. Refocus. Race.”

Thank you all for joining me today. If you are wondering what you can do to be the best athlete you can ever be, go to starplayeracademy.com, I’ve prepared a cheat sheet that shows you 15 success traits of a serious athlete that you can follow in one glance. So head over to starplayeracademy.com right now, and till tomorrow.

I look forward to see you become a StarPlayer.

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Photo Credit: “Josh Cassidy” from JoshCassidy.com

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