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Why Enjoying the Journey Is Important For Peak Performance!

Mindset Made Simple Tip #90 - Watch or listen HERE.

Whew…last week was interesting!

We planned a family trip to Florida for spring break, it was to be my first spring break without a softball field involved since 1987.

Then the text message appeared. Your flight is canceled.

I then worked through the joy of rebooking as we lost a whole day of vacation…only to get the same message again!

WHAT? You have got to be kidding me!

Now waiting it out again to see if we get on a flight the next day would really cut into our trip! I was not a happy camper. You know what they say about the best-laid plans!

So, we packed up and drove to Florida…and when I say “we” I mean “I” drove to Florida! Oh, don’t act like you aren’t a control freak, too, Coach? 😊

The whole time I am second-guessing my indecision. “We should have just packed up and drove at the first cancellation” I kept thinking.

I was rushing around, irritated that we had lost two days of sunshine and family time and driving to get there like I was the only person on the road! Thank goodness for Waze!

In the most unlikely of circumstances, I was reminded of how the process is so much more important than the outcome.

I was so focused on the irritation, frustration and rescheduling that I missed the fact that the one person I wanted this to be great for DID NOT CARE AT ALL about this stuff.

As we stopped to sleep for the night somewhere in South Carolina, we entered the hotel room and my son’s reaction was priceless. He was SO PUMPED to stay in this huge hotel room with his own pull-out couch and fun breakfast choices.

He was TOTALLY into the journey (or process). Yes, the destination was exciting, but getting there was half the fun for him!

This got me really thinking about this trip and how it relates to our approach to outcomes.

I have been to Orlando a bazillion times. As a coach or player, I have made the trip almost every year for 30 years. Add in recruiting trips to the area every year (at least once) and that adds up to almost a bazillion!

However, this trip was different and Jensen’s reaction to the “awesome” hotel room totally switched my thinking about how the journey....or process... is really what it is all about!

Yes, the destination was great (truth be told, I prefer a beach), but it wasn’t really about the destination. I have been there many times without the thrill that this trip brought.

This trip was different because of the time we would be spending with those we love and the time we would spend making memories with my dad, sister and her kids.

We do this to ourselves so often. We focus on the outcome. We “have” to do this! We “have” to do that!

Or when I get this…or that…or there…I’ll be happy!

Well, what if we never get this…or that…or there? Are we going to be a miserable failure? What if we lose 1/3rd of our vacation and it isn’t what we expected?

Focusing on the outcome or on a desired point that exists only in our future thoughts can turn into continual deference of happiness, confidence, self-efficacy or satisfaction.

And as the airlines showed me, we often have very little control over what happens to us (or because of us).

Yes, it is good to look ahead and plan for the future. But as my favorite quote by the comic strip star Dilbert reads, “losers have goals and winners have systems!

This implies that our systems get us where we want to go. Swap out the word “systems” for “process” in this quote and we can start to move forward as a winner by learning to love what we do each day as we move our lives and performance closer to that picture we see in our heads.

We aren’t going to wake up one day and be where we want to be without focusing on what we need to do to get there.

And since we don’t control the outcome, learning to focus our attention and our energy on what we can control will help us master the techniques and skills we need to learn more quickly. It will also allow us to measure, acknowledge and celebrate successes along the way.

If we only look at the outcome it is much harder to stay the course if we don’t have a system or process to follow as we march toward the ultimate goal. It is even harder to stay motivated if we can’t use that system or process to mark daily, weekly or yearly “wins”.

In our case, our goal is always to beat our opponent. However, in every competition, only one person or team wins. Going in your odds of winning are 50%...even if you are heavily favored (that doesn’t seem to make sense, but think about it…nothing is guaranteed, that is why we play the game!).

For those of you who are winning right now, congratulations! I hope you are reminding your athletes that it is the journey that is fun. Yes, winning is FUN! But the joy of winning soon fades after the game ends. It’s what you are experiencing with teammates, players and the community and the joy of accomplishment within game situations that bring true joy! Continue to focus on what is getting you there…and what you need to do to stay there.

For those of you who are not, I have been there…too often! Trust me, I know how hard it is to focus on what is going well when the scoreboard does not reflect anything good! But focusing on the process gives you complete control. Breaking your process down into small, manageable, achievable steps can help you count “wins” even when the win column seems elusive!

Regardless of what the scoreboard reads, finding, acknowledging, measuring, sharing and creating small wins turns into momentum! Reframing things and turning obstacles into advantages can help here, too!

It comes down to managing moments because momentum is built moment to moment!

Where are you winning? What can you do to do more of that?

Without seeming like winning doesn’t matter (because we know it does to you, your players, your administration, the parents….) how can you layout your process, measure it to show improvement and make it the focus?

After all, the destination is great. But why you are going there and the things you experience on the way make it truly special, big hotel rooms and all!

Manage the moments and enjoy the process! It is a choice...and the only thing we can control!


P.S. I would love to help you and your team focus on your process and building momentum! Call today and let’s make a plan that fits your team. Don’t have the budget for a full program right now? Schedule a team session today or check out my online courses at

Julie Jones

Certified Mental Performance & Mindset Coach

SSB Performance • 234-206-0946

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