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September 2019
David Carry

How do you stay focused on your win?

Winning is not everything, but ‘the win’ certainly is. The ‘win’ represents the moment where we achieve the success that we have been working towards. But the road to success can be long and full of obstacles – so how do you stay focused on your win?

If we want to give ourselves the best chance of success, we have to place ourselves in our ideal future and work backwards. From there, we simply need to eliminate as many of the barriers and risks as we can along the way. When we have a clear and achievable win in mind, we should be able to feel it, see it, smell it, hear it, and touch it – that is what we mean by the clarity of the win.

Imagine that your ‘win’ was to represent your country in the Olympics. The first thing you have to do is to imagine yourself standing at the starting line, competitors on either side, crowds cheering in the background. This is how Track Record co-founder David Carry started to prepare for the London 2012 Olympics.

Visualising the moment of the win

David’s win was to deliver his best performance in both the 400m freestyle swimming event, and the 4x200m freestyle swimming relay. He knew that by the time he stepped up to the starting blocks, he had to be utterly confident that he could deliver his personal best performance. So, before any training had begun, he imagined himself at the poolside, and asked himself a series of questions.

What worries will I have? What would I wish I had done more of or less of? What can I do between then and now to improve my confidence in my performance?

David began every training session asking himself: “In order for me to get to that moment in London 2012, what do I need to do today?” This created a direct connection between what he was doing and what he was going to be doing in the moment of the win. This helped him to achieve the clarity of the win, so that he could make the best possible choices in each day of his training.

What are the key components of a win?

Every win is different, but the same key components go into each one.
It should...

  • be challenging enough that it feels inspirational but not unobtainable
  • be something that can be measured
  • provide evidence of its existence
  • be a multi-sensory experience
  • involve some stakeholders.

Overcoming obstacles

In a perfect world, there would be a straight line between where we are and the things we want to achieve, but let's face it – life gets in the way. We are not trying to predict the future – we are trying to identify an aspiration and then arm ourselves with the best possible choices to give ourselves the best chance of success. If a problem can be predicted, so too can the solution.

Once we know what our win – or wins - will feel like, we can interrogate all of the things that are critical in order for us to get there. For David, these included being in good health and free from injury; being free from all distractions in the minutes leading up to the race; and – of course – knowing that he had the ability to swim at a world-class level.

Apply this theory to your own win: what needs to be in place to overcome your obstacles and make it to the end point - the moment where you feel successful and fulfilled? Use the timeline below to map out each thing that needs to be true in order to reach the end win. By solving these problems before they occur, we can effectively clear a path to our win, making it more visible, and – ultimately - more achievable.

Clarity vs reality

On the day of his first race, David was unfazed by the noise of the crowds, the flash of the cameras, and the enormity of the occasion. He ended up achieving his best performance and reached the Olympic finals, achieving his end win. He did this through a long process of visualisation and practice until he had removed all the obstacles on his path and ensured that at the moment of the win, all that mattered was what he did in the water.

By placing yourself in the moment of the win, you are reminding yourself why you are taking on this challenge. That moment should feel amazing – full of joy and confidence in what you are about to achieve. There should be no surprises in the moment of your win – your reality should reflect your earlier clarity.

Make the clarity of the win a cornerstone of your journey to confidence. Feel it, hear it, see it, feel it and taste it. You will be standing at your starting block before you know it.

To learn more about how the clarity of the win can help you to build confidence and achieve your dreams, pick up our book from