Imagine being 25 and having reached what most would consider the pinnacle of their profession.
Sébastien Toutant is 25 and has multiple medals from the toughest competitions in snowboarding. He received two golds at the X-Games in 2011 and 2013 and just won a gold medal at the most recent Winter Olympics.
It makes you wonder how you reach those heights and how you keep the passion once you've reached them.
I met Sébastien while leaving an F1 race in Montréal. I had a chance to talk to him about what makes him tick and where he sees himself going from here.
Check it out.
There are multiple factors at work in high performance and in keeping yourself passionate and motivated.
1. Find Your Unique Ability
"Snowboarding is my passion. I was doing it every day … Over time, It's my job, but it's still my passion. Every time I strap in on my board, I love it. You have to balance it. You have to keep the fun alive."
Unique Ability is where there's superior skill and it gives you energy, instead of taking energy. When you have to grind every day to become the best, and it's taking energy away from you, you're not going to stick with it.
When it lights you up, there's no limit to the hours or years you can commit to it.
2. Maintain Good Habits and Build New Skills
"Keep Snowboarding. Keep Training. Keep Trying New Tricks. The sport is moving so much, so you always have to improve your riding and invent new tricks. Push the sport to the next level."
Success is a war of attrition. You gain it every day through consistent habits and hard work. It's easy to talk the talk, but it's harder to set yourself up for success. Structure your life, and your environment in a way that makes success the default.
3. Stay Focused on the Future
"You have to make sacrifices to make it there. But it's worth it."
At my office, we practice the idea of "Measure Backwards, Plan Forwards".
To us that means it's important to take time to appreciate how far you've come, yet, it's also important to stay focused on what you can still accomplish.
Your edge is decaying faster than ever before. Competition is growing not just from your competitors but from technology as well. Stay focused on next.
By the way, there is one other lesson this encounter reminded me about … opportunity is all around you, waiting for you to notice and act! It would have been easy for me to filter out the "kid" standing behind me in a line after an event. Luck favors the prepared. Stay focused on what you want and keep your eyes, ears, and mind open for ways to get it!