Mindset Made Simple Tip #39 – Everything’s a Competition!
My dear friend and former assistant used to say that I turned everything into exercise. I’m not sure that was a compliment 😊!
The truth is, I turn everything into a competition – including searching for sea glass!
Last week we had the opportunity to spend some time on the Lake Erie shoreline. It is beautiful, full of smooth rocks and driftwood. Both have been tossed around and beautifully shaped by the water.
Amidst the smooth rocks lies trash turned to treasure – sea glass!
As my son and I walked along the beach with our friends, we gathered little pieces, showing off our finds with every cool discovery.
This got me thinking about how amazing your brain is. Here we were, looking for tiny pieces of glass amongst sand and rocks. We didn’t know exactly what we were looking for, but we knew exactly when we found it.
We were focused. Focused on finding something that looked a little different or caught the sun just right.
It was easy… and so peaceful…until it wasn’t!
This got me thinking about how frustrating our amazing brain is!
My friend Kim was on a roll. She was finding big pieces, step after step.
That was all it took. Now it was on!
She didn’t know it was on, of course. BUT IT WAS!
What adult in her right mind would admit that searching for sea glass had become a competition? But now that I think about it, I should have started a bet. Kim may be more competitive than I am. Playing on her competitive nature may have been to my benefit as you will see as I go on!
As she continued to rub her big pieces of sea glass in my face, I started to press. I started to question my approach. I started to rush. I started to think. AND NONE OF THIS WAS GOOD!
The more she gathered, the less effective I was at my peaceful gathering of beautiful glass…on a beautiful day…with beautiful friends.
I wanted the big pieces. I wanted to find the most glass. I wanted to win!
I IMMEDATELY started focusing on the OUTCOME instead of the PROCESS!
Nothing like sucking the air out of a good thing!
My sea glass adventure and subsequent personal competition where I effectively defeated myself is not unlike how our we and our athletes approach performance.
As soon as we start to compete – as soon as there is an outcome – the pressure is on.
As soon as the pressure is on, the less we focus on keeping our eyes down, looking for something that looks a little different, something that catches the sunlight just right - WHICH WAS THE PROCESS!
Instead, we take our eye off the ball. We shorten up our follow through just a little. We get lost in what the competition is doing and try to play their game instead of ours. We start to THINK instead of TRUSTING our preparation.
When we play for an outcome, we are focused on the future or “what ifs”.
When we play with a process, we are focused on the moment where we can actually affect the outcome!
It’s not like I spent the 50-minute drive to the lake thinking about my sea glass gathering process. But once we got there, I found something that worked very effectively – until I ruined it with allowing “the competition” into my head.
We are always focused on something. What we must be sure of is that we recognize when our focus is moving away from the moment to the past, the future or to internal non-productive thoughts or external distractions – like Kim 😊!
This is why mental or mindset training is so important.
Building a process or a plan on how we will make that critical switch from the non-productive things we are listening to or focusing on, whether internal or external, to what we need to be doing or thinking RIGHT NOW, is the difference between underperformance and peak performance.
If you or your team struggle to be consistent, to show up in that moment you have practiced a million times to perfection, if you play to the level of your competition or allow what they do to dictate your play, you may need to think about how you are picking up your sea glass.
Do you have a great plan and are you motoring along until a distraction – like Kim – shows up, then the bottom falls out? Are you worried about winning…or losing? Are you focused on what the officials are doing or the weather…or who is in COVID protocol?
Focusing on the process…the ABC’s of each skill or situation is the key. A – I do this. Then B- I do this. Then C – I do this...then boom, a piece of sea glass shows up!
We think and plan – then ACT! The only time we can act is NOW. Not in the past or in the future!
The process keeps us RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW! The planning takes place in practice, in pregame and in our preperformance routines.
The more we focus on the PLAN or PROCESS the better our chances of getting to our desired outcome. We may or may not win, but we have positioned ourselves to do so if we control the present moment through pounding our process!
See? I should have challenged Kim to a competition, then went back to following my process. She would have taken on all the thoughts that buried me and I would have won 😊! (I can say that since I made this whole competition up – if she reads this, she will probably call BS).
Whether you are looking for sea glass or playing for the championship, our focus is so important, but so tenuous. Practicing our process is the difference between performing our best or allowing the pressure to squeeze us right out of the race!
If you ever want to look for sea glass on a nice, relaxing afternoon…I’ll meet you at the beach! Sounds like a dream, I know 😊!
Have a laser-focused week – there is beautiful sea glass everywhere if you focus on it!
P.S. If your team needs more directed focus, I can help. Shoot me an email or send me text at 234-206-0946.
Certified Mental Performance & Mindset Coach
firstname.lastname@example.org • 234-206-0946
Be strong and courageous. Joshua 1:9