Mindset Made Simple Tip #145 –Watch or listen HERE.
They call it “agency” these days. Maybe it has always been called that, but it wasn’t a popular term in coaching vernacular.
Either way, if we have agency, we have a feeling of control over our actions and their consequences. In a way, agency seems to fly in the fact of the E+R=O equation where we know we do not control outcomes. But agency isn’t a choice then get a specific outcome equation. It is a feeling. And how we feel matters!
Research shows that people when people in a nursing home were able to choose where furniture was placed, when they ate meals and where they sat at those meals, there was a significant positive effect on their well-being (High and Rowles, 1995).
This is agency. They got to decide when and where to eat and even if it didn’t significantly change their circumstances, it changed the way they felt about them. They may have had the same meal and the same furniture, and it is doubtful that the time of day or seat they sat in changed their health, so their actions didn’t get them different outcomes, but they sure felt different about them.
The bottom line. Making choices makes us feel more in control and it is good for us. When we feel a sense of control and understand that we decide what actions we will take, we perform better!
The problem. We often act like we aren’t given agency…as if someone else holds that power.
The truth. We ALWAYS have a choice at the most fundamental level.
There are times, of course, when decisions are made for us, but even in these times we still have agency over our actions and more!
Like the times when decisions are made for us, we don’t decide what we think. Put more directly, we don’t control our thoughts. We don’t know what we will think in the next moment because if we did, we would have already had to think about it. Who’s on first?
Even though we don’t choose our thoughts, we do get to decide which thoughts we will focus on. We get one thought at a time. It is our job and completely within our power to decide which one is most important and most helpful to us right now!
As we head into the home stretch of the season and the academic year, those that are still competing are being held together by physio tape and athletic tape. It’s grind time. Athletes are asking when they can leave for summer (at the ire of their coaches) and there is often a lot of focus on being tired! I'm told a friend of mine told his team after they commented on how tired they were last week (mind you, they are about 45-6 or something like that) “Why are you tired? Nine of you play and the other just stand and clap.” I laughed. I bet they didn’t!
Of course, others are jacked up about what remains on the schedule and looking forward to conference titles and more!! Even so, I bet they are tired, too!
Some are checked out. Some are dialed in (no different than in any other realm of life, really). No matter the slant, it affects how we feel and perform.
Where our mind goes matters!
Although my friend’s comment may not be the one you want to use, I know a good comeback to any mindset comments or discussions….
YOU GET TO CHOOSE. CHOOSING GIVES YOU POWER. AND YOU GIVE POWER TO WHAT YOU CHOOSE!
YOU GET TO CHOOSE ONE THOUGHT OVER ANOTHER AND THIS IS AGENCY!
At any moment, no matter whether you are facing something difficult or exciting, you can choose which thought you focus on and that will have a huge influence on how you feel, how you act and how you perform.
YOU HAVE THE POWER TO CHANGE YOUR MINDSET. And changing your mindset changes your circumstances.
It is a simple choice, really, brought on by a simple question. Is the thought you are giving your attention helping you or hurting you?
You may not get to decide where you sit when you eat or where the furniture will be placed, but you can change what you think about it.
Not every thought that needs to be passed by for a better one is negative. Sometimes our question of “is this thought helping me” may shed light on thoughts that are indulging, meaning they are not accounting for any struggle, and we know most things worth accomplishing have some sort of struggle involved.
But most often those thoughts that need to be bumped out of our “one thought at a time” precious mind space are those that focus on what went wrong, what is going wrong or what might go wrong. None of these are helpful.
In his book, Chatter: The Voice in Our Head, Why It Matters, and How to Harness It, author Ethan Kross says, “Our inner voice can be both a liability and an asset. The words streaming through our heads can unravel us, but they can also drive us toward meaningful accomplishments…if we know how to control them.”
He says control them. Let’s say “choose” them. Either way, it sounds like agency to me.
We have more power than we want to admit. Let’s stay that louder for the people in the back.
We have more power than we like to admit!
Because if we admit we have the power to choose one thought over another, we can’t blame others for how we feel, act or perform!
We always have the power, even when we aren’t in power. We can ALWAYS CHOOSE ONE THOUGHT OVER ANOTHER. We have the power to be pumped and ready or tired and apathetic.
Champions often act differently than they feel, and it all starts with choosing which thought they allow to roll around in that precious space in their minds.
So, whether we are tired from playing or clapping, how we face what is in front of us now is dependent on how we think about it, and how we think about it directly affects our results.
Situations may not change, but how we think about them can. And that gives us the power over everything we face!
Which thoughts will you choose as we finish the grind? The ones that will help you be your best, find the good, appreciate the experience or the ones that will hold you back, focus on the negative and miss out on growth?
You get to choose! Agency is yours!
Manage the moments…one thought at a time!
P.S. I’d love to help your team adjust their mental game! Contact me today at firstname.lastname@example.org or call/text 234-206-0946 and let’s set up a session or a plan for your program!
Mental Performance Coach
email@example.com • 234-206-0946