Lazy summary: Look at everything that occurs today as being in your best interest, an opportunity to grow. It’s easy to see challenges or disappointments as unfair or tough breaks that have set us back from our goals. What if we began to focus on everything as an opportunity to grow, chance for us to get better (maybe in an area that we wouldn’t normally consider)? Not an easy thing to do, for sure, but we are working on thriving, rather than merely surviving life’s challenges. It’s okay to be disappointed, but I want to encourage you to look past the disappointment, and find an opportunity to grow in everything you do.
I’m re-reading a book by Jamie Gilbert and Joshua Medcalf titled, “Burn Your Goals”. The book focuses on the idea that you should remove the idea of goals for your life, and instead, focus on the things you can control, such as your attitude, your effort, your approach. Rarely can we control the outcome of things. In other words, we can’t control whether or not we win a state championship, a region championship, or even whether or not we make the team. Some coaches may argue differently, and that is okay, But think about this: Let’s say you set a goal next season to win a state championship, and that is your focus for the year. Think about all of the things outside of your control that can occur during the course of your season. Your starting pitcher gets hurt before the playoffs, your super talented point guard is ruled inelgible after Christmas, or your coach unknowingly breaks a rule that disqulaifies you from post-season play altogether. Or how about this, you meet up against a team or player that just has the game of their life, and there is nothing you can really do about it on that given day.
While some of these may be more far fetched or unlikely than others, I’m sure you can see some reality in at least one of these circumstances, or think of some situations in your own life and experience where something happened that was well beyond your personal control.
Here is the encouragement, focus on the things that YOU can control. Your coaches probably tell you this all of the time, but unfortunately, many of them have a hard time modeling this for you you, as they complain about officials, or the weather, or any number of things that THEY can’t control. We all battle this as coaches, and as people in general. Think about what you can do TODAY, and each day, in practice, or in your life, to be as great as you have been designed to be. Be specific about it:
-I will attack each sprint as an opportunity to improve my endurance.
-I will take all of my coach’s instruction as an opportunity to improve.
-When I get tired today, I will encourage a teammate, rather than focusing on my fatigue.
-When someone gets chewed out by coach, I will be the first to pat them on the back.
-I will display gratitude today, for the opportunity to be on this team.
And when you the unavoidable obstacle in life, find the opportunity to grow. Don’t just survive life’s challenges, THRIVE in the midst of them.