First and foremost, how did your inventory go from the last master athlete series blog? I hope it opened up some real conversations you can begin having with yourself about how you are creating the life you live by seeing the pieces that influence you every day. This blog is coming a couple days late but with the holiday week I hope everyone got some time to celebrate and be with loved ones and honor the amazing country that we get to live in and express ourselves fully and freely. Today, we focus on how you can start gaining clarity on life through becoming finally aware of what your life is.
“Know yourself and you will win all battles” – Lao Tzu
This isn’t simply a quote; this is a way of living. The power of awareness in your life will give you more than you could ever ask for in everything that you do. You will see more, understand more, and ultimately become more through having a more open mind, heart, and consciousness.
Awareness is the focus of this week’s mastery series. It is the practice of seeing what is real, true, and factual in any situation. This gives us the power of clarity and choice for all actions in our current and future states. So, how does our ability to be aware affect how we live? Let’s do a little test.
Take a moment to breathe deeply and then look around the room and notice everything that looks blue. Really notice all the blue things you own or see in your surroundings. Have you memorized what most of the blue things are? Good!
Now list all the things that are red.
This exercise is a fantastic way to point out that where our attention goes, energy flows. We all have filters that determine the world that we see and create the experiences we have. It’s time we begin noticing all of the things we fixate on that are creating our reality. Do you know someone who always seems to have a rough life? They may look a little like this: they don’t like their job, their rent is too high, they make too little of money, their boss is too rough on them, and they can’t switch jobs because the market is too competitive for them to get noticed. Sound like someone you might know? People who are stuck in this cycle are not stuck, they are simply creating their life based on things that they look for and resonate with easily. There are so many ways we can experience the same event and you can control the experience that you have. Want to know how to control this? I’ll do my best to describe some ways you can change your experiences and remove filters from your life as an athlete.
You need to become aware of how you are acting or reacting to situations. There are 7 main ways that we as individuals can shape our experience when experiencing any situation. Some descriptors of how we can experience situations are: Avoidance, conflict, rationalization, gratitude, curiosity, synthesis, and passion. I won’t go into these much but just know that how you show up in life is how you will experience life. A great tool for becoming more self-aware is finding a way to journal your experiences. Creating awareness starts with understanding how you react to everything that life gives you. Are you showing up to practice with hesitation? Why do you think that might be? Write about it! Same goes with how you feel about interacting with coaches, teammates, and fans. The more you document about yourself, the more you can begin to become self-aware about what might be creating those dynamics in your life.
This one is tough. Understanding what is real, uncontrollable, factual, and scientific is so incredibly important. Someone on your team might have a different genetic makeup than you which makes them gifted in areas that you aren’t, what does that cause you to think about? What reaction to you have to the judgment you might be putting on yourself against factual things that are just a part of life? Begin to understand the things about life that won’t change because they can’t change. Understand them, know them, and begin to think about how you might be able to change yourself to approach those realities differently.
Awareness of the presence of others
Being an athlete, there are always other people who are present. Whether it’s your teammate, competitor, coach, parent, fan, or any other number of people, you must begin creating an awareness around the dynamic you create with each of them. Don’t like fans? Try and figure out what about fans drive you up the wall and begin to take note of the inner triggers that you have towards them and how you might be able to put yourself in their shoes and understand them from a different place. Teammates and competitors are a great place to start. They are there to push you and bring out the best in you, not to harm you or make you feel less than. If you feel that, it is your own judgment of them creating that reality. Without competition, you would not have the benchmarks necessary to understand how well you are performing when competing. Competition is the essence of sports but knowing how you react to competition is the first step to freeing yourself from the stories that hold you back from your own potential. The goal is not win and make someone else lose, the goal is to find out how other people make you better and harness that tool to make you the best athlete possible.
Awareness of environment
Classrooms, meeting rooms, arenas, fields, weight rooms, you name it! There are so many environments that influence athletes and each one affects us. A gym rat may love working out but has difficulties performing at the same physical level on the field. Why might that be? Maybe it is that they feel that they can control the weights but cannot control the game. A great fix for that would be to begin understanding how they can re-frame their thoughts towards the game they play and exert more control on the field by thinking about their play style in a new way. Find out what in your environment makes you feel like performing is effortless and notice where it seems draining and daunting. Many times, changing our environment’s influence on us can come through a change in the way we choose to experience it.
Awareness of choices and options
Our choices and options are controllable. We always have a choice we can make and options are a mindset. If you don’t believe there is much you can do, then chances are that you won’t have options available. However, if you begin to think that there are many ways to become the best athlete you can be, you will start to notice the different ways you can achieve peak performance. Think about a point guard who has the ball with the clock winding down. If they believe that they have to take the last shot to win the game and that they most likely won’t be able to beat the defender, they will probably dribble around and then make one move and heave up a final prayer to win the game. An elite athlete will understand that anyone could take the game-winning shot and that they could either beat their defender with either a cross-over, step-back, pick-and-roll, or pure speed if they wanted to either shoot a 3-pointer or go for a layup and possibly get fouled. Also, they have the option of passing, screening, or moving without the ball to create a more open opportunity for themselves or another person. We all have many choices and many options, but it depends on what you believe is available to you and what you are willing to do about it.
I challenge all of my mastery athletes to begin taking note of the filters they create about life and sports and when they start creating them. When you can do that, you will find ways to change the dynamic of your life at any time. If you want to learn more about the 7 ways you can show up in life, how they determine your experience, and how you can master your awareness, I suggest reaching out to me and begin a coaching relationship. As a performance coach I can offer the knowledge and tools that can take your life and performance to the next level. I look forward to hearing about what insights about awareness you discover. Until next time.