It doesn’t happen often,
When you clear the bar with space,
You finish with an age to spare,
You pretend that you don’t care
But secretly, inside you’re cheering,
Giving the air a little thump
And just for one day
You’re the hero of the tale.
I think that as humans, one of the best feelings in the world is to know that you have exceeded expectations. We all set ourselves goals and very often, we will probably set them a little bit out of reach because it’s not really a goal unless it’s going to be a challenge to meet.
However, there are sometimes occasions when even these outlandish goals are met and exceeded and you can’t help but look around in disbelief thinking, did I really just do that?
When I was a teenager, I was a swimmer and my parents would always offer up presents if I achieved certain times. I remember sitting with my mum before a race and she said she would get me a DVD of my choice if I achieved a 3 minute 200 metre breaststroke.
It seemed like a goal that would take me a couple of months to achieve as I would have to knock off about 10 seconds to get there. I don’t know what happened in that race but I somehow managed to do a 2:54 and I remember touching the wall and looking up at my mum in the stands. She looked like she was in total shock – and I suddenly felt addicted to that feeling of shocking people with my achievements.
Of course, trying to blow people’s minds with everything you do is not going to be a particularly successful approach to life and I did have to learn to give myself a break every now and then. Now I just get a kick out of beating my own little goals. Today I aimed to run 6km and I ended on 10km and that made me smile and I rewarded myself with ice cream. That seemed like a win to me.
One of the wonderful things about exceeding expectations is that you don’t just get joy from your own wins. Everyone loves an underdog and I absolutely adore watching people battle their way to the top when the odds were stacked against them.
Think back to September when Emma Raducanu won the US Open and every Brit felt positively proud and astounded in equal measures. It wasn’t that Emma won, it was the fact that she didn’t really have a chance in hell that made it so wonderful to watch.
So, I think what I’m trying to say is just push it a little further than you planned and who knows what will happen or where it will take take you…