Team GB Holly Norton talks commitment

We recently met with Rowing World Champion Holly Norton and asked her what drives her to the top of her game. Her answer was one word: ‘Commitment’.

To me commitment is huge and it’s something I have to show everyday. It's always been something I've placed a lot of value on, and that's because I've definitely learnt that anything worth having in life isn’t going to come to you without commitment. So let me share an example with you...

Towards the end of secondary school, I'd just started rowing and I really fell in love with the sport. I loved being out on the water, I loved working as a team and I loved where we trained. I thought this sport is for me you know! So I decided that I wanted to not only go to the World Championships but I wanted to win them – this was a pretty hefty goal considering I'd only been rowing a few weeks.

Anyways, I truly committed to my goal. Many people questioned me as I had been playing water polo and hockey all through school and had had some success in those sports. I can remember people even laughing at me and calling me crazy when they found out about my rowing ambitions. I really didn't care though. I'd made up my mind. This was what I wanted to do. 

‘Anything worth having in life isn’t going
to come to you without commitment.’


So I cracked on with some hard training and 18 month later I was selected to row at the Junior World Championships during my final year of school. Obviously I was over the moon about this – it was the first step towards achieving my goal! Unfortunately we came 8th which was a fair way off my gold medal goal.  

However, my performance was enough to get me noticed by American universities and I was really fortunate to be offered a full scholarship to study and row at The Ohio State University in the United States. Now this was huge for me! It was thousands of miles away from home but it was an incredible opportunity for me regarding my education and my rowing, I couldn't miss it. I knew that I would definitely become a better athlete by training at Ohio State and I would also graduate with a world-class degree – something else that was very important to me! 

So off I went to the States. I had committed to 4 years and I was certain I was going to have the time of my life. I definitely did and I became twice the athlete I ever was before. When I was 22 I returned to the World Championships and came 2nd. Obviously I was ecstatic with a silver medal, but there was just something about crossing that finish line first that I really wanted to experience. So I continued training through my senior year and right after I graduated from university I had another crack at the World Championships. And this time… We won!!

I can honestly say that it was one of the best days of my life – to finally achieve my goal and to be able to say I am a World Champion felt so good! It was a goal that I had set when I was so young. It took many years to achieve and the path has taken me all over the world, but I couldn't be more grateful that I committed to that goal!

So my advice to you is to commit to something. Put your heart and mind into something you are passionate about. People will doubt you along the way, they will question why you sacrifice so much or they won't understand your reasoning for wanting achieve your desired goal. But that's ok. Carry on anyway. If you are committed you are highly likely to reap the rewards of your efforts. It is extremely satisfying to fully emerge yourself into something and to put it all on the line. When the day you achieve your goal finally comes, and trust me it will, you will be so grateful that you committed to the process. The journey may be long, tough and daunting, but the destination is sweeter than you can even imagine! So go on, get started today. It is never too soon or too late, just always back yourself and always be patient with yourself along the way!