It’s the time of year for looking back and planning ahead. In that spirit, we asked Sophie Radcliffe, our athlete ambassador to share her insights and learning from what has been a landmark year of challenge and achievement in the following post:

2015 has been an incredible year for me in many ways. There’s much I’ve learned about myself, what I’m capable of, and how to ensure I’m performing at my more consistent best as a performer in any arena. Here’s what I’ve learned about myself and my performance over the past year:

How to set goals that really work

In January, I had a whole heap of ideas about what I could do in 2015 to build my business. It’s sometimes hard to pin down your priorities and goals, and all too easy to get caught up in all the things you feel you ‘should’ be doing. The team at K2 challenged me to develop my skills in goal setting and create a very clear picture of success for the year ahead. Having different levels of goals – bronze, silver and gold – really worked for me to reduce the pressure and ensure I always had something to aim for. I’m better now at setting and using goals flexibly – so while I continue to aim high, I’m comfortable about being flexible to adapt when I need to.

It’s ok to say no

Although I believe it’s important to say yes and open ourselves up to new opportunities, this was the year I learned it’s just as important to say no. K2 helped me through some of the toughest decisions I’ve had to make, learning to prioritise and choose quality of the work I deliver over and above any other considerations. Having clear goals and priorities is an important starting point and allows you to make the right decisions about what you invest your time and energy in.

Strong mind as well as strong body

In 2015 I learned a lot about how I can control my mind and develop mental strength to deliver the best performance I can. I tolerate pain, and actually, hunt it out, because I’m interested in learning from it. I also learned about how to analyse and understand how my emotions and with that gain greater control over them. I’m now able to use my emotions and thoughts positively, to achieve my goals – rather than allowing them to control me and have a negative impact on how I perform when out on a challenge.

Energy – the essential foundation

In a world with many demands on our time, learning how to restore energy after depleting my reserves was crucial. 2015 was an incredibly busy year for me, in which I undertook some new and testing physical and mental challenges around the world. I learned that building in time to recharge, reflect and recover is absolutely essential if you’re going to deliver sustained high performance – and that I need to plan for this recharge time as much as I do for my performances.

My key event – Race the World

In November 2015 I had the opportunity to compete in Race the World – a team cycling race from LA to Miami covering 2700km through eight states in 14 days. I was Captain of Team Deman, one of the two teams. With eight cyclists on my team, I put my heart, soul and every ounce of energy I had into helping the team deliver the best performance they could. Every day I completely ended myself not only cycling as hard and fast as I could on the road but also, putting my energy into the team and devising a strategy that enabled us to achieve success. I put all my high performance learning from the year on goals, definition of success, managing energy and building high performing teams – into my role as team captain. Very quickly we learned how we could support each other and draw from each other’s strengths. Our definition of success was ultimate personal achievement by putting everything into the race, and maximum enjoyment from the experience itself. I’m pretty sure we ticked that box, creating memories and friends to last a lifetime.

Reflections on 2015

Looking back over 2015, there’s been a lot of movement, growth, setbacks and triumphs. The most important element to me and why I embrace everything my path throws at me, is the journey of self. The journey of finding out how I become the best version of myself. To embark on this journey, it requires people, it is not a solo journey. Good people with skills, knowledge, and ability to offer support and insight. I’m so grateful to have found this in the people at K2. The input from the K2 team, as well as having The Performance Room at my fingertips whenever I need high performance resource, has made all the difference.

And we’re super proud to have partnered with Sophie over 2015, and have loved hearing about her high performance lessons of 2015. We wonder what your high performance reflections and learnings from 2015 would sound like? We challenge you to write your own!

For more information and insight into Sophie’s year, you might be interested in:

www.challengesophie.com

https://twitter.com/challengesophie

https://instagram.com/challengesophie

https://www.facebook.com/ChallengeSophie

http://planetk2.com/blog/2015/11/race-the-world-reflections-from-the-coalface/

http://www.challengesophie.com/cycling/race-the-world-cycling-usa-changed-my-life