by Jo Hutchinson

On a quiet Sunday, I lazily sipped away on my flat white while doing one of my favourite pastimes, reading the weekend newspaper.  It wasn’t long before I came across a fabulous article on Valerie Adams – New Zealand’s Queen of Shot Put and a world class athlete who’ll be soon competing in the Rio Olympics.

Her story is centred in a small village in Switzerland, which is about as far away as you can get from NZ.  A deliberate strategy on her part, she had this to say:

“It’s great to be here.  We’re able to train without any distractions,” she says.  “Being away from New Zealand definitely helps because there’s not much Olympic hype around here.  Nobody knows who I am, there are no media things happening, I’m just focussed on what I need to do, and that is train.  But I am very grateful that my husband is here and he is able to, I guess, normalise life.  This is a full-time thing, but it is good to have a balance and do things that take your mind away from training, and away for the Olympics, even for a couple of hours.  I’m no longer homesick because I’ve got everything here now, and that’s important because I love home so much.”

What I loved reading in this quote is her total focus – choosing to have no distractions and to focus on what she needs to do right now, which is to train.  I think it is easy in life to get distracted (I know I do) and there are many reasons why we sometimes allow this to happen, but imagine what you would achieve if you chose to just focus on the most important thing right now and just did that.

Regardless of our roles in life, there are times when we feel incredible pressure – be it personally, professionally or financially.  Of course, our athletes have chosen to compete on the world stage, against the best of the best, to test their limits and to represent a nation creates tremendous expectation and pressure.  We all know how hard defeat is, just as we know how ruthless the media can be. Valerie had this to say: “I know the pressure is there, but to be honest the biggest pressure is what I put on myself. I have goals I want to achieve. People have their expectations but the biggest expectations always come from within.”

I’ve always been fascinated and intrigued by the inner game of sport and the ability of our athletes to not let failure define who they are.  Instead they’ve learned to embrace defeat and failing as a force to motivate achievement and performance; the ultimate victory which is won on the inner plane.  She says: “All those obstacles I’ve had to overcome have made me stronger, mentally, physically and emotionally.  A lot of athletes probably would have retired by now because it was a long stretch coming back, but I didn’t want to go out like that.  I knew I had at least one more left in me.  I wanted to come back and retire on my own terms.”

And just in case you didn’t know, here are her statistics:

Valerie – a world class athlete

2 − Olympic gold medals won

3 − Commonwealth Games golds won

3 − World indoor titles won

4 − World championships won

5 − Surgeries undertaken in the previous three years

7 − Consecutive Halberg awards for sportswoman of year, 2006-12

14 − New Zealand shot put titles won

19.69 − Best throw, in metres, for 2016

21.24 − Career best throw, in Daegu, South Korea, 2011

26 − Diamond League meet victories

56 − Consecutive major competitions won between August 2010 & July 2015

Source Sunday Star Times –

And lastly, I love this quote “The biggest goal is Rio, and come Rio whatever it takes to win the gold medal is what I’m looking for.”  Another lesson from a world class athlete doing it on her terms.

It got me thinking – what’s my next BIG goal?  How about you?

Go Val, you’re story is both impressive and inspiring.  You are a legend.



Jo Hutchinson

Coaching and Mentoring to Unleash Your Potential

Great Spirit NZ Ltd – ‘it’s a way of being’

T. +64 27 414 4291 E.  W.

Jo Hutchinson is passionate about helping people stand up and step out into the world to lead with courage, with heart and transform their potential into their greatest impact and performance.   She coaches and mentors people who are ready to take the next step in their lives, careers or businesses by helping them get clarity of purpose and values, envisioning the future and creating an inspired plan of action to get there.

She’s worked in big business and small business so she knows first-hand what it takes to be a leader and she has innate gift of seeing potential in people and nurturing that talent into the world. She says ‘if you feel compelled to make a positive difference in this world big or small, then I’d love to help you succeed.”

Discover your greater purpose, then be bold and brave by choosing to live it in a way that honours your uniqueness, your essence and your personal brand.  You have a unique potential to create positive change on our planet and the world needs what you have. Go to for more information about Coaching and Mentoring packages.

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