Thursday, August 7, 2008

The least amount

Triathlete magazine provides genuine insight in an exchange with Joe Friel (world-class coach of endurance athletes). Friel is talking about endurance training, of course, but his meaning is relevant for editors (and their companies) too.

Triathlete: Do you have a particular coaching philosophy?

Joe Friel: I can put it in a nutshell... Athletes should do the least amount of training necessary to achieve their goals. I find that, once I figure out what's the least amount of training an athlete needs to achieve their goals, they usually achieve their goals. Before they were most likely doing too much to achieve their goals and fatigue was a constant factor. I don't know that I would call myself a minimalist, but I tend to hold down the volume and watch specificity very closely. I'm always making sure the athlete has things dialed in closely to what they're trying to accomplish.

You have to be a certain age to get it, I think. You've worked so hard at so very much and failed too often to miss the truth in what he's saying. You have to be exhausted.

There are a million tasks to professional editing: only a handful of them are necessary to please your client, meet your team's goals, and hone your craft. Stop trying to do everything you can do, and focus instead on those few things necessary to achieve specific goals. Hold down the volume and dial in closely.

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