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Standing there with my bow in my hand, I could not believe that this "acceptance of average" had creeped into my archery world.
This weekend, I missed a shot that should be automatic. Yes, I admit my perfectionistic tendencies and how those are not always beneficial. This one, however, bothered me as in I lost sleep over it. After getting the youngest down for his nap the next day, I went to my normal "thinking place" - for those that do not know me that means I was shooting my bow - and then I had "a moment." Once again, archery taught me a lesson about life.
I was shooting all over the place. It had nothing to do with my equipment (Hoyt bow or Victory arrows or Walk on Archery target) but everything to do with me and my mind and my choices. It's never easy to accept blame but the irrefutable evidence was right in front of me.
Without getting too technical, I was allowing my aim to drift. Instead of drawing my bow and placing the appropriate pin where the arrow needed to fly, I hovered the pin below the target and then lifted up at the last second before releasing the arrow. That slight upward movement is transferred to the arrow meaning it is already starting off target (flying more off target the further it traveled). I know better. This decision is awful and is guaranteed to miss unless a miracle occurs. This simple change is a fundamental technique and can be easily addressed but the habit takes time to reform.
As I continue to fling arrows, the picture you see to the left happened. 2 arrows into an empty water bottle at 30 yards is not half bad. But, therein is the greatest problem - "good enough." The technique mentioned above was symptomatic of the greater problem: mental laziness allowing me to settle for less than the best. Granted, I am not a world-class archer, but I am better than a 3-inch spread at 30 yards. I chose to accept less than the best because my goal had changed - instead of hitting a bulls-eye, my goal had become anywhere inside a 6-inch ring during hunting season.
Standing there with my bow in my hand, I could not believe that this "acceptance of average" had crept into my archery world. Again, I knew better but, somehow, had become less intentional. Part of it may be due to my elbow inflammation that has cut into my practice time; however, that is simply an excuse. If anything, the lack of repetition should have forced greater focus and intentionality during my archery sessions. Now, I am going to re-examine several other aspects of my life to see if that laziness has appeared in those as well.
To help fight this inclination to average with archery, I asked my oldest to come outside with me. I had him "call the shot" by telling me what part of the water bottle to hit. It gave me a partner. It forced my focus. It kept me accountable. It also improved my results! Take a look at the picture down at the very bottom. This grouping is MUCH tighter but I still did not hit the blue circle - came super close with that lower arrow. Improvement is still needed but my progress is heading in the right direction.
In life, particularly during this time of the pandemic, we need to learn from my archery foibles. Make sure you regularly connect with someone to help you focus on the most important things. Check your attitude to see if you have avoided slipping into the "that's good enough trap." Examine your results regularly and judge whether or not you are hitting your intended target. Adapt your practices, based upon the information you have received, to change as needed. Find a partner who will help you set the goal and then hold you accountable to it.
In life and in leadership, "good enough" is never good enough.
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