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Blackie: Recipe for Success
“Great ingredients!… The blend of which will determine the quality of the meal.” Marco Pierre White

Each of us is different, with a wide range of goals, but I believe there is a significant common ground on which we can all meet to built the foundations for what we each regards as success. The guidelines I have set out below constitutes what I see as the basis of that common ground.

Be positive and optimistic. You must have a strong inner belief that life has great things in store for you. The strength this brings will give you your best chance of success. We all know many people who automatically accept failure. They do this by maintaining that they don’t really want the promotions they’ve applied for, or that they are just doing it for the sake of it.

Others, in exams, will repeatedly say that they are going to fail, that they haven’t really revised just in case their marks aren’t up to standard. By doing this though, these people have already admitted defeat. Just one lost fight after perhaps forty wins can completely shatter a boxer’s confidence. Their ability and preparations will have been the same as in all their previous victories, but by losing one bout, they have lost the belief and strength that a positive and optimistic mindset brings. So you should actively try to cultivate a positive frame on mind and work hard to maintain it. If you thinking that you will win, it’s almost a certainty that you will. This is arguably the biggest and most important step of all. I urge you to adopt this positive state of mind now.

Once you have adopted a positive mindset, you should then set yourself a ‘ballpark destination’. You should know where it is that you are going. Without knowing where you are going, how do you know if your daily efforts are effective in pushing you forward into the right direction? So begin with the end in mind. Set out a plan, a map, with interim, momentum-inducing goals along the way. When achieved, these will let you know you are heading the right direction. The overall destination must be both highly attractive and beneficial to your life when you get there. Ask yourself:
Where am I now?
Where do I want to go?
How do I get there?

On your journey to your ballpark destination you may find that your ‘sat nav’ sometimes directs you off course. Strong challenges can divert you down the wrong road. To combat this we must always try to ensure that out daily work is effective. Don’t waste time devoting valuable energy to lost causes. Do your first things first and don’t procrastinate. Often, we lose valuable amounts of time pontificating over a possible journey or goal. While we reassure ourselves that we are doing the right thing, the race has already begun and we are lagging behind. Always maintain a sense of urgency and work every day to move a little bit further towards your destination.

A very important part of laying down the groundwork for success is deciding to like people, especially those in your life! Everybody should win from a relationship if it is to be effective. Try to seek common ground with the other person in order to build a lasting and worthwhile bond. I magine you were in that other party’s position and try to see throught the other person’s eyes, hear through their ears and be prepared to walk in their shoes. Stephen Covey encapsulated this perfectly in the fifth of his The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People: “Seek first to understand then to be understood.”

Learn. Continually.

Practice doing your thing. A motto of mine is ‘Apply and try’. Give it your all. There’s no real use learning for learning’s sake. You’ve go to apply that knowledge productively. If paramadics know the principles of life-saving techniques but don’t apply them… well, the outcome won’t be very rosy.

Once you have set your ballpark destination and have cultivated rewarding and fruitful relationships then ensure that you see things through to the end. If you have made the decision to do something then you should stay with it. As they say on the MASTERMIND, ‘I’ve started so I’ll finish.’

I strongly believe that you’ll get so much more out of life if you care about your family, friends, work colleagues, environment and society in general. Care enough and you’ll achieve astonishing results. This links in with liking people. If we like people and effectively show we care about them and the achievement of their personal goals then they will undoubtedly want do the more for us.

Strive to understand what is expected from you (what you have to do, to what level, for how long) and where that fits into your team, company, industry as a whole. Ask for ‘Indian Talking Stick’ understanding. This is a communication tool explained by Stephen Covey. Articulate your message then have the recipient back their understanding of what has been said. If there are any misunderstandings, this is the opportunity to clear them up. Then make sure the amended message is repeated. Once the communication is aligned then your recipient can ‘take’ the Talking Stick and add its message to their knowledge bank. They can then pass on that information to third parties in the way they see fit – provided the Indian Talking Stick procedure is followed, This was everyone understands what’s expected, what needs to be done and there is a commitment to enthusiastically embrace the programme. Once we’ve all bought in then let’s go!

Be a plus to everyone associated with you. Be recognised as a person who will consistently and dynamically make a significant contribution to anywhere you are. Living that change is very contagious – go out and infect people with it.

Be interested in your friends; both prospective and existing. The quality of your relationships will determine your flexibility and your ability to be ready and able to deal with the surprises life throws your way. Be ready to adjust, adapt and respond positively and effectively. In other words, evolve to cope then adapt to thrive. You don’t need adverse reactions; you need positive responses.

Have the discipline to do what needs to be done, when it needs to be done at a quality that meets or exceeds all requirements and expectations.

If you want things to change in your life then you much change. If you want more, you must become more. Change your behaviour and you will become the person that behaviour creates. I said earlier when talking about the make-up of a team, that you shouldn’t hope or rely on others to change. That is true. If someone isn’t open to it, then it is very difficult. No matter what you do. Such people remain constant to their core beliefs. If their behaviour isn’t bringing results they probably haven’t found the environment that will allow their personal strengths and talents to flourish and make a meaningful contribution, thus no matter how hard you you try, neither party will be able to facilitate the change you both want at that time, in that place. But if you are the sort of person who what to change and is open to it, then you are the type of person who will initiate change in you life. If it’s in an area of strength they the change will most likely be seen as growth; if it’s in an area where you are not particularly talented you may get slightly better but you’ll never scale the heights associated with your strengths. It is a personal thing. You can’t assume it of others. You can trainer a donkey eight hours a day, love it, feed it well, give it the most up to date training methods but it’ll never win the Derby.

You need to have the right people around you. People playing to their strengths you will to yours. In a balanced team there are complementary skills across all bases. Be in the company of highly motivated, well-intentioned, skilled, ambitious people because it rubs off. Everyone must be allowed to contribute to feel significant.

Finally, recognise that you are the right person for the job, and that you are empowered to do it.

Steve Black is commonly regarded as one of the most inspirational fitness gurus in the world. He has worked with the finest sportsmen in both rugby and football, while his advice and motivation skills have been sought by many, including Kevin Keegan, Peter Reid and Paul Bracewell.It is in rugby, however, that he has really made his mark. His involvement in the game began when he took up his current post with Newcastle Falcons at the inception of the ‘rugby revolution’, which catapulted him into a different sphere. He was then signed up by manager Graham Henry as the conditioning coach for the Welsh national side. Following this came the pinnacle of his career, when he was selected for the British Lions tour of Australia in 2001. More recently, he has been named as one of the key factors behind Rugby World Cup hero Jonny Wilkinson’s success. However, Black’s story could have been very different. At 16 he worked as a bouncer for a variety of rough pubs in Newcastle upon Tyne, but differed from the herd in that he followed a strict religious and moral code. When the pub scene became increasingly violent, Black bowed out and went to college where he attained an Honours degree in Sports Sciences, then embarked upon a career in sport. In a biographical book “Blackie: The Steve Black Story,” Black’s journey from life as a bouncer on the streets of Newcastle to the global sporting achievements that followed. Blackie is an inspirational read for anyone who seeks success, be it in sport or life in general.

Recipie for success taken from Jonny Wilkinson’s book Tackling Life with Steve Black.

Author avatar

Valentine Rawat
Personal Trainer · S&C Coach · Official Trainer to Sky1 Obese A Year to Save My Life & SkyLiving FAT: The Fight of My Life I'm a father and a husband, and my girls are my inspiration to be better, do better & continually help others achieve better of themselves.

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