Friday, July 9, 2010

Dara Torres and The Details

While many appreciate this book for the uplifting story of a mom's comeback to professional swimming against long odds, Olympic gold medalist Dara Torres book, Age Is Just a Number: Achieve Your Dreams at Any Stage in Your Life, gives precious insight into the difference that makes a difference at such high levels of performance.

She tells the story of Rowdy, a fellow Olympic swimmer who "studied the starter before his race to see how quickly he intended to pull the gun."  Anybody could have done that but he actually did it. And it paid off.

Dara followed that philosophy of caring about the details: "You have to care about every detail, every day, if you want to win."

Dara extended that philosophy well beyond the usual example of bringing your own food to bringing your own massage therapists or mashers and swimming the pool before racing in it in order to memorize the underwater landmarks.  

Adopting this mindset pushes you into more detail orientation and frankly, many people may prefer to delegate, but the 2 are not necessarily opposite.  Dara knew her older body needed more care than a younger one.  She took control of that aspect by delegating the responsibility for managing and mashing to her 2 massage therapists.  You can be detail oriented and delegate too.

Dara is a great example of taking responsibility not only of owning her dreams and drives but also of owning both her part and all the little but important details it took to get there.

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