Master Athlete Series - 3. Gain Control Through Acceptance
Welcome back!! I want to start this with a massive thank you to everyone who is following the program so far and supporting me. Without any of you, I am not a coach. When I get the chance to help people change their lives, it allows me to live my dream of helping others achieve success. A huge moment of gratitude to everyone who is here and without further ado, today is all about finding control in your life through acceptance.
Acceptance is so much more than looking at something and knowing what it is. Acceptance is the discipline that helps people create a non-judgmental view of life in everything that has happened, everything that is currently happening, and knowing that whatever comes simply “is.” It is the key component to finding control within life, especially from a performance standpoint. Acceptance is a massive pillar in learning how to always move forward in life, no matter what happens.
How most people experience acceptance
So, how do most athletes (or performers) currently experience acceptance? Does any of the following sound true to you? Going through life, we begin to perform. As we perform, our brains start to create a trajectory for how we should be performing by a specific time or state that we come upon, and when we reach that point, we often think about how we missed the mark somehow. Disappointment sets in and takes you away from the present moment and you begin thinking about what you did or didn’t do that led you to not meet your expectations. Thus, decreasing your energy towards pretty much everything happening in the current moment which takes away motivation, purpose, and clarity of your goals. Acceptance allows you to remove these expectations so you can engage all your energy in the present moment to always perform at your fullest potential.
Here’s an example. Say a basketball player is in a shooting slump; he hasn’t hit an open shot and begins to think about how everything is going wrong and that they are just not feeling it and the doubt of not getting the ball passed to them is dwindling. Their game starts to deteriorate from the inside out. Their defense begins to be lackadaisical, they move less without the ball, they get benched. At halftime, their coach reminds them of something powerful, that they can always control themselves, not others, and that what has happened during the first half is what it is and they have to accept that. However, the second half is a completely new ball game and that the way they approach it can change their entire performance. The second half they come out and accept that at any time they can make a shot, they’ve taken thousands of shots and have made thousands of shots. They remember that they have been beaten on defense and they’ve also had amazing blocks and steals. Truth is, it is all a part of the game! They feel their hands in contact with the ball, their feet on the floor, their eyes are always active and focused. Because of this, they are in the moment and more likely to succeed because of it. The game happens, you must take it as it comes and remember that you always control your ability to take action, the rest is a result of your ability to remain present in the moment and accept what the game has to offer.
You must accept what has been
Understanding that every single action you’ve taken has led you to where you are is crucial. You are where you need to be right now on your journey and everything in your life has placed you in a position to make decisions to the best of your abilities. Good judgment is an indication of experience, and experience is an indication of bad judgment. Take a moment to recognize where you are and be grateful for the series of events that have placed you there. This is your journey and each part of it is a unique story that only you can write, you are the author of your life. Have you had bad experiences? Good! What did you learn from them? How did they help you grow and put you in a position to succeed in other areas of your life? The more you can take a moment to appreciate that experiences are teachers the more you will succeed.
Everything that happens is not personal
We experience life. Whether we deem it right or wrong is completely up to us. Things just happen, how we react to them comes from within. If you find yourself taking something personal, take a moment and think about the judgment YOU placed on it and how it began to validate itself. Let’s say you have a bad game and take it personally. You begin to beat yourself up and think that you’re just not that good. Then you have another bad performance and validate that thought again. The cycle will continue until you change the way you are perceiving the experience. If you have a game that isn’t your best and have the mindset that it was a growth game and that you learned about parts of the game that you can get better at then your practice changes. When your practice changes, your game changes and will validate that you are always growing and mastering your skillset. Accept that everything simply happens and that you decide the outcome. When you can do that, you begin to control your experience in everything you do.
For the love of all that is holy, release those expectations
Expectations are the hidden pits of darkness. When you create an expectation, you give yourself only one way of succeeding and thousands of ways to fail. Accept the fact that there are many ways to succeed and that expectations are your mind’s way of trying to dictate how you should live your life. When you can let go of expectations, you will find that there are endless opportunities to find ways to succeed, grow, and be happy. This skill requires faith that everything that happens has value to you. When you get to see the value is not up to you, you might see it immediately or look back years later and finally understand. Just. Have. Faith. Realize that you don’t grow from success, but failures. Success is the reward of growth and failure is the indication that you are in a period of growth. See the growth in failure and you will never take a step backwards as a performer again.
Embrace who you are
You are perfect. Let that sink in for a moment and really feel it. You are absolutely perfect in every way. Why? Because everything you’ve gone through in life, the ups, the downs, the in-betweens, are all perfect puzzle pieces that make up the amazing individual that is you. It’s time you start embracing it! Stop being someone who you believe everyone wants you to be and accept yourself as you are. When you do that, your real gifts will begin to shine and your performance will stand out from the crowd.
Find power in acceptance
Here is a fun exercise for those who want to see a difference in their performance. During practice, or whenever you are performing, count the times you begin to doubt yourself or get frustrated by something that happens. After practice, think about how the overall practice went for you in relation to how many times you became frustrated by your performance. Then, start to practice acceptance in thinking about how everything is an opportunity to learn and count the number of learning moments you had and how it affected your overall performance during practice. Keep track of the moments you get frustrated and the moments you accept as learning and you’ll be amazed at how quickly you begin to judge yourself less and perform better by practicing acceptance of your performance. This is because you become objective to performance and instead are experiencing things just as they are.
If at any time you feel stuck or can’t quite get out of the past to experience the present, reach out to me and tell me! I help people find their true power through acceptance and breakthrough to the next level of their game (no matter what game that is). You can either reach me through my contact page or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.