Katie Zaferes, the No. 1 ranked triathlete in the world fresh off her first ITU world title can probably describe herself a master of triathlon.
She's a 2016 Olympian and a U.S. medal hopeful for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. And yet, she's still chasing "mastery."
Last week, Zaferes was featured on the hit podcast, Finding Mastery. Hosted by high performance psychologist, Dr. Michael Gervais, the show explores how the best in the world master their craft. For each episode, Gervais interviews the world's best athletes, brilliant business minds and musicians and artists to discover the mental skills used to push the boundaries of performance, success and creativity.
Zaferes, with her eyes set on qualifying for — and medaling — at the 2020 Olympic Games, joined Gervais for an interview in which she discussed chasing mastery, how's she's approaching the upcoming Games differently than her first appearance in 2016 and getting the results she covets while still finding joy in what she's doing.
“I think mastery is unattainable, but I think trying to attain it is everything. If it were attainable, then it would stop. You would master it and the journey would be done. It’s not attainable, but I’m still trying get better," Zaferes says.
The interview with Zaferes gives a great look into the mind and process of the best triathlete in the world, with many takeaways for the age group athlete. In the episode, she and Gervais discuss, among other topics, the following:
- How she manages her demanding travel schedule and creates a competitive advantage
- How she manages the tension between joy and comfort in her life
- Becoming very intentional about where she spends her energy
- Her breathing and visualization practices
- How she’s adjusted her preparation approach in the lead up to the 2020 Games
- Her metrics for growth… it’s not about the outcome
- Never seeing being a female as a limiter in what she can achieve
- Why she started working with a sports psychologist full time
- Her definition of mastery
“I have an underlying feeling of confidence that no matter what situation I’m in, I have the ability to handle anything, adapt, and figure things out," Zaferes says.