2 | PERSPECTIVE IS EVERYTHING
Henry Ford once said that “Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right.”
This quote applies to not only the way you look at and think about things but also the actions you take because of your thoughts and perspectives. It’s incredible how much your actions mimic your thoughts.
That’s why your mindset is the most important thing.
Your perspective and outlook on life come from your mindset and the standards and values you’ve set for yourself. Mindset and perspective are vitally important because all of your decisions will stem from these two traits.
You’ve probably seen a defeated mindset before. You already know when you’ve beaten an opponent, and the game hasn’t even started. There’s a look on their face that shows the slightest bit of fear or hesitation, and you immediately know you can take advantage of their doubts. They’ve already lost in their mind, and it’ll be that much easier to actually do it during the game.
I know that perspective is essentially just a point of view.
Still, I’ve always viewed perspective as having a more in-depth understanding of a situation that simply being a point of view. It’s not just looking at the face-value of something, but also involves moving beyond the surface to look at the backstory. It knows you can’t change what happened and chooses to positively move forward.
Chooses. That’s the first keyword. And positively is the next keyword. You get to choose how you view the circumstances that happen to you and what you do with them. How you let them affect you.
Your perspective will either better you or set you back. It will allow your struggle to become your story or your self-sabotage.
I know when I think about it like that, I never want to actively choose something that will set me back. I’ve always had an optimistic and realistic outlook on life, but sometimes it’s difficult to see the good in something. And when difficult or unexpected situations arise, I have to ask myself, “What’s the lesson in this?” and “What good can come from it?”
You’re probably all wondering that question right now. Sometimes you’ll see the reason immediately, and sometimes you won’t see it for years. But either way, you have to choose how you move forward. You might not realize it during your pain and heartache, but your current struggles can positively help someone in the future if you let go of “why” it happened to you and replace it with the thought that it happened “for” you. Your story can save someone else when you let go of your ego and the idea that it’s all about you and transition it into how your experience can serve someone else.
When you have the right perspective, you’ll have less anxiety, worry, and fear because you’ll be focused on doing what you can and showing up positively among all of the doubt and negativity around you.
As we eventually move on from this pandemic, we’re going to be starting a new chapter as a society and as a world, with a majority of the senior athletes entering the workplace. You’ll be beginners again.
Not the veteran athlete that showed up, but the rookie who might not have a clue.
And it’s hard sometimes because as competitive athletes, we want to be the best and there’s a streak of perfectionism in all high achievers. I get it. No one likes to show up and have a rough day or the worst competition after all of the practice and hard work that’s gone into it. Just knowing that you haven’t put forth your best effort or performance is frustrating.
And I wholeheartedly understand that. I’ve routinely proclaimed to hate running my entire life (yes, even as a track athlete). I didn’t think I could race anything over 200m and had the excuses and self-doubt to back it up.
So I signed up for a half marathon to prove to myself that I could do something I never thought I could do.
It was a mental challenge to change my mindset. As a competitor, though, maybe I never thought I could run a half marathon because, to me, if I signed up, it would mean I RAN the entire course.
That I actually had a good mile time for all thirteen miles. That I’d somehow be expected to keep up with runners that have been doing this for years just because I ran track (long jump and triple jump!) in college.
That somehow if I did something I had never done before, I would still need to be great at it.
But I don’t. I’ve never done it. And I’ve changed my mindset to know that I have to put in my best EFFORT, but if that means walking at some points, that’s perfectly fine. I gave myself space to not be perfect. To not be amazing. I just want to cross the finish line! I don’t care what time it takes because this is more of a mental victory to me than a physical one.
But it’s that shift in mindset to allow me the ability to be a beginner.
And I think this is so important as we translate into the world outside of sports. We have to be careful to not let perfectionism rule the day. Because if we do, we’ll quickly find ourselves in analysis paralysis where you feel like you’re not ready, that you’re not good enough or you don’t want to put out anything less than your best and what you’re capable of, and you’ll remain stagnant for months or maybe years.
That you somehow have to be at the same level as everyone who has been doing it for years.
That you won’t even start because so many people are already doing it. Perfectionism will get you nowhere except to the land of the frustrated.
You have to realize that putting in the work and gaining progress is so much more valuable and essential than ever trying to be perfect.
Remember how you didn’t necessarily see the results of your hard work every day at practice? But over the months and years, you knew your efforts paid off? You saw your growth, and you knew the work was worth it.
It’s so important to remember this as you’re starting something new and especially now when things are so uncertain. Give yourself the grace to be a beginner and figure out how you can see obstacles and challenges as opportunities for growth that will serve you in the long run.
Stay strong and take care!
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