As a coach or athlete, have you ever come away from losing a match knowing that you were the stronger team?
Cheekily, leave the arena with a smile saying ‘we’ll take that’, knowing the opposition skill level was massively superior and they handed you the game!
What IS going on here? It seems all upside down!
In 1995, I was selected to represent Hong Kong at the World Netball Championship in England. This was my second such event, the first was in 1991, in Sydney, Australia, but this time I’d switched ends of the court from a circle defender to a circle shooter.
I loved to shoot goals and practiced every day clocking up thousands of hours. The level of satisfaction and joy I felt shooting goals was extremely high, the beautiful swish when the ball doesn’t even touch the sides of the ring, fabulous!
Everything seemed on track, until…………..!
During the championship, I struggled to perform with any sense of flow and ease. I was tense and anxious, and became dysfunctional on and off the court.
The felt experience of enjoyment and fulfillment in shooting goals diminished, taking with it my success rate. Shooting for my country was no longer a superb thing to do, but an arduous, scary, unpleasant way to spend my time.
What was going on?
On reflection, I was completely invested in a self-image around, persistence, perseverance and being a perfectionist. These personal traits became part of my Thought created personality. Sadly, I linked my self-worth to my effectiveness as a national shooter and it thwarted my ability to perform.
My ego, (what I expected from myself, the way I thought I should be, how I wanted to be seen) was very much out there, and it was something the coach had no idea about.
I felt pressured, not supported, by my own definition of a national netball athlete.
Let’s examine this closer?
You expect to win and you don’t, and when you don’t you do?
What else is out there?
Culturally, you’re taught about having a strong positive self-image, but is this more of a liability than an asset? Is this being mis-interpreted by young people to their detriment in sport and life generally?
You will never be free to be at your absolute best, if you feel your happiness, self-esteem, enjoyment and well-being are at stake each time you perform.
My lack of performance had nothing to do with my skill level or physicality but everything to do with preserving and protecting my self-image, which I wrongly believed was necessary in life.
The emotional trauma you put yourself through, living up to personal traits provides an unnecessary complication to performance.
Can you afford to ignore this thing we call personality?
As a human being, you’re born into the world inherently good. Your happiness, self-worth, peace of mind, and well-being are innate and part of this amazing design of the human being.
You naturally experience desire to grow and learn and are drawn to get involved in things, which inspire and develop you as a person. The problem is, we inadvertently believe we must strive to be better and in doing so we fail to thrive!
Somewhere during childhood, we learn that we’re not enough – that we must BE more, HAVE more, and DO more, in order to be happy, and that’s not how it works.
Contrary to what you might think – satisfaction, joy and fulfilment cannot be found out there, (results, job, profile, what others think or don’t think about you), they’re part of your default setting.
I definitely learned the hard way; it took me years to recognize that my performance; getting it right, or sticking with it, had nothing to do with who I am as a person.
Often, we play a team with a superior skill capacity to find they’re completely off their game. This presents a chance for the under-dog whilst they’re pre-occupied, not only with Thoughts of outcome but also with fearful, insecure thinking around personal perfection and self-preservation.
During the World Cup – how much anguish v freedom can you see on the players’ faces?
You don’t need to prove yourself, get approval of others, be right, or be first. You’re simply given the opportunity to get fully involved in the game of life, and see what you can create for yourself and others.
When you pay attention to your thinking, your performance suffers. You can’t play your best when you’re distracted by Thought — positive or negative.
Whether you win or lose, your well-being is never at stake. Understand this and you’ll be able to just play, full-out and fearless. Outstanding results are the bi-product of playing with a free mind.
If you get fed up feeling disappointed and frustrated, look here, into understanding the human experience and the Principles behind how we operate as human beings.
Thank you for your intrigue and curiosity.
Here’s a little reflection, if you’re up for it?
What else is out there with you when you perform?
What are you trying to live up to?
Let it go and feel the freedom. Get in touch with your natural ability to create the impossible!
This work may help someone you care about, loosen up and enjoy their sport like never before; they’ll perform fearless for the first time and experience outstanding results – please, go ahead and share – this is what will make the difference in sport.
If you’d like to have a conversation, get in touch, and we’ll arrange a time to speak.