When you get to that level, where everyone is expecting you to win everything, the first thing you begin to think after a win is “phew”. You feel relieved that you didn’t let anyone down. The joy comes after, sure, but the relief comes first.
A big risk I took in my career is actually when I entered the Paris Diamond League event in 2015. My shoulder and elbows were wrecked – I knew they weren’t up to it, and I knew I was going to lose. Losing would mean an end to that five-year win streak, but I did it anyway. And I lost. And it was the best thing I could’ve done – it took real courage. These things happen, we go up, and we come down. It’s life, and it’s usually on the downs that you wind up learning the most.
None of this sounds like heaps of fun, does it? Brutal training, all this sacrifice, all this pressure from my country and the media, going out in 2015 knowing I’d lose…
But here’s the thing: success isn’t about having this destination. It’s not a place you’re going to end up and finally feel 100% content. I don’t think so, anyway. It’s about enjoying every part of the journey. There is no magic destination where you’re finally going to feel successful, or feel like you ‘made it’.
And I have enjoyed every part of my journey (OK, most parts). I think that’s the only reason I’ve been able to keep pushing forward. That, and wanting to make my family proud.