“Usually, when the distractions of daily life deplete our energy, the first thing we eliminate is the thing we need the most: quiet, reflective time. Time to dream, time to contemplate what’s working and what’s not, so that we can make changes for the better.”
― Sarah Ban Breathnach, Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy
Life as a competitor is intense with competition for our focus and attention coming from every direction. To perform at our peak, we must take time for ourselves, time to focus on our goals, to eliminate any distractions that may occur. This elimination and total focus is extremely difficult because we are constantly barraged with requests and notifications that draw our focus away from a time of peace and inner reflection and evaluation.
The Heart of the Competitor makes a commitment to setting aside a quiet and reflective time in which they focus on themselves; they build this quiet time into their daily routine. This reflective time is essential to the growth that is occurring in the Heart of the Competitor, remember the Heart of the Competitor is focused on who we are becoming. We are not focused on the person or competitor that we currently are, we are focused on learning and the competitor that we are becoming.
Set aside time in the morning routine or time in the evening routine before going to bed for a period of quiet reflective time. The institution of this period of “quietness” will develop the skill of living in the present moment focusing on what is currently happening rather than what could, should, or would be happening.
Question of the Day:
Develop a time and place where you set aside 5 minutes to focus on a quiet and reflective period of time. Commit to where and when this will occur.
“Anxiety is the space between the ‘Now’ and the ‘Then.'”
Competing in the present moment requires focus and concentration. Focus and concentration must be practiced and rehearsed. It is the training of the mind and body to work together in a way that demonstrates thought and movement connection. This connection begins with the thoughts.
The largest inhibitor of a thought and movement connection are the thoughts that come into our mind that drag us away from the present moment, the here and now. Our mind is made up of thousand and depending on our age, millions of experiences and images related to the event or activity the competitor is currently engaged in. When facing competitive situations, our mind replays the previous experiences that were had in similar situations. Our minds do this to maintain some semblance of calm for the mind, since the mind relies on the status quo, resisting change. This creates a gap between the present moment, the “Now,” and the past, the “Then.” As quoted above, this creates anxiety.
The Heart of the Competitor removes these past images and engages in the present moment to create a new script, one that has not been written. The first step to engaging in the present moment is a deep breath to push out the past images and experiences, thus placing your mind where your feet are. The deep breath brings the competitor into the “Here and Now.” This leaves the “Then,” knowing it has occurred and cannot be changed, the “Here and Now” is wholly controllable and it is the Heart of the Competitor that engages in the present moment, where true memories are made.
The second step to engaging in the present moment is utilizing a focus word or saying that will prompt you to be in the “Here and Now.” Choosing a focus word or saying allows you to bring yourself a calm and laser-like concentration to the present. The focus word or saying is effective because the competitor believes in it and engages their mind in the word or saying.
Question of the Day:
Choose your focus word or saying? Why did you choose this word or say? What does it mean to you?
“In order to be open to creativity, one must have the capacity for constructive use of solitude. One must overcome the fear of being alone.”
― Rollo May, Author of Love and Will
The Heart of the Competitor beats on its own, engaged in the current activity, driven to be successful with an awareness of what is occurring around them in every action that is taken.
Creating quietness is essential to the process of development. Quietness occurs when we are engaged in our activity with an intense focus and awareness of every action, sensation, and feeling associated with our work. When we begin this process of creating quietness in our life, of being mindful of our actions, it can appear to be immensely lonely. However, the Heart of the Competitor develops an understanding that the focus and engagement that results from our mindful actions is best for our performance and ultimately the team’s performance.
In today’s quote, author Rollo May noted that in order to be creative, in order for him to write, he had to “overcome the fear of being alone.” This is true for the greatest of competitors, to create the performance that is desired, the Heart of the Competitor must overcome the fear of being in the arena of competition alone.
Establishing mindfulness of our actions in every activity creates the comfort level in what can be the silent pursuit of success. This moves the Heart of the Competitor from fearing being alone and focusing on the task at hand, to enjoying being alone and focusing on the task at hand, whether that is rehearsing a skill or competing in a game situation.
Question of the Day:
Find one activity that you typically do alone and engage in this activity. Enjoy the engagement and solitude. Send me an email sharing your experience.