One of the most iconic figures in British sporting history, memories of Jonny Wilkinson’s famous drop-goal are likely to be plentiful as the Six Nations grips sporting fans across the country and beyond.
Indeed, prior to his career-defining moment in the 2003 World Cup, he had been part of Sir Clive Woodward’s England side who won the Grand Slam only a few months prior to heading out to Australia.
Clips and images of his success shared millions of times since, Wilkinson is undoubtedly one of the biggest British sporting icons in modern history.
So, to hear him discuss his feelings towards performing at elite level during a discussion with Jake Humphrey on The High Performance Podcast is absolutely fascinating. A wonderful insight into what makes the man tick, GIVEMESPORT have picked out THREE big takeaways from the interview.
The changing face of high performance
What is so interesting about this discussion is how well-rounded Wilkinson is when it comes to talking about his career and attitude in regards to getting the most out of himself as possible.
Rather than wax lyrical about the obvious high points, the former Newcastle Falcons fly-half spoke of how the goals he wants to reach have changed and that it’s about accepting how life moulds these for you.
“High performance when I was younger was about outcomes. It was all about whether the ball went through the post, whether the pass hit the mark, whether the guy was tackled.
“As I got further down my exploration of performance and potential and all these things, I started to understand that – for me – high performance is about absolute engagement.
“Deep involvement is high performance.”
So, while our goals may change depending on what stage of life we’re at, it’s all about defining exactly what high performance means to you before anything else.
World Cup vs Washing Up
Along similar lines, Wilkson’s analogy that doing something as mundane and menial as the washing up could be as important to him as playing in a World Cup final is a mark of the man.
To have the drive within yourself to do both to the best of your ability, deeply involving your mind in any manner of task is something we can all learn from, whatever we happen to be working towards.
“When I was younger, I’d be like ‘playing a World Cup final, that’s important’ and the idea of doing the washing up, I’d be like ‘don’t you dare’.
“Now, I’m like ‘I love doing the washing up’.
“I’ve decided that is something that I like doing because I plug into it.
“Whether or not you fully engage comes down to how you are on the inside.”
Given some of his previous exploits, there seem very few people better placed to talk about how to remain calm under pressure. An age-old question, it is genuinely difficult to think of a better example of a person who can block out the noise and not let the outside environment dictate the outcome of your actions.
“Take away the thought ‘what about me?’ and where’s the pressure?
“Take away the thought ‘what happens if this goes wrong?’ and where’s the fear of failure?
“It just comes down to self-importance.
“What it was, is I allowed myself to think that I knew who I was and I knew how life worked.”
That overarching view on life does seem like a reassuring mindset to take into high-pressure situations. The fear of failure on a personal basis is natural but, if we can park that for even just a minute, anything is possible.
For more incredibly insightful interviews with elite sportsmen, women and entrepreneurs, make sure you subscribe to the High Performance Podcast on iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/the-high-performance-podcast/id1500444735