Top 10 Series: Part 1 | Control What You Can
1 | CONTROL WHAT YOU CAN
This is probably my favorite foundational lesson that came from my college coach. She always emphasized controlling what you can. Being an indoor and outdoor sport, we had our fair share of weather to battle, whether it was rain, sleet, wind, or high altitude — even hosting championships in 108 degrees. Man, that was brutal! We obviously could never control the weather, but we could be prepared as best as possible. Plenty of sweats, rain gear or Gatorade and water — whatever was needed. And before we even got there, it was our training and taking care of ourselves and trusting the process that would best serve us when the competition time came.
But the central importance of this was a shift in perspective and how you deal with the obstacles in your path. You can’t control the rain or the heat, so don’t waste any energy and effort worrying about them! Focus on what you can manage and make the best of the situation.
Another coach once told me to make my own sunshine.
And I loved that. I remember it so vividly. It was in the middle of a downpour, and I had on my plastic poncho while I was warming up to compete. I ended up winning the Oregon Invite in the freezing rain with a PR that day. I came to play while everyone else was worried about the weather. Take advantage of those opportunities, focus on the good, and maximize it.
For me now, this means that joy is a choice, as is my energy, outlook, perspective, attitude, and how I show up for others.
Those are things I am completely in control of regardless of the situation, no matter how much I hate it or wish the circumstances of my life were different. My response is what’s important. I’m actively looking for solutions to the problem and not causing more of them. I’m not adding stress to myself worrying about things that could or couldn’t happen. I’m continually looking for the silver lining and the good in things.
I’m still in control of my goals and dreams and the effort I put into them.
While the world is in limbo, what were your goals after graduation? How can you take action towards them now? Is it researching? Connecting with people? Finding a virtual community? Taking an online course in your favorite hobby?
It may not feel like it, but you have so much more control than you realize. My goal at the end of this is to come out stronger and more knowledgeable. I realize my situation isn’t the same as yours, but I haven’t binged any shows on Netflix or Prime.
I haven’t changed my daily routine or eating habits. If anything, I’ve given myself more structure because I’m best when I’m structured, and I know that about myself. In all honesty, you probably are too.
At the end of the day, controlling what you can relies heavily on your perspective and attitude. You can choose to see difficult situations as opportunities instead of challenges. What does this look like for you? Are you catching yourself when negative or anxious thoughts come to mind? Are you able to recognize them so you can get control of them?
Challenge yourself to make a list of at least 15 things you can control to help shift your perspective– you just might be surprised!
Stay strong and take care!
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