Change: It’s the only constant in life. Change is messy, stressful — even when it is something you want to do.
Mentally fit athletes are okay with change. They are prepared for it, and see it as a challenge and opportunity to learn. They adapt and create something new.
Why as athletes do we need to be prepared for change? Everything changes: Conditions, coaches, teammates, roles, your body, your opponent, your game plan. You have to accept that it happens.
My family and I recently made a change. It’s something we wanted to do for a while now, but, things changed. The events of the world forced us to pivot.
We had hoped to move a couple of years ago. I have been through numerous moves in my life and all had their challenges.
Being okay with change was a process for me. At times it’s filled with challenges that I created, and some that were just plain unavoidable. At times I really struggled with the unknown, and in some cases the commitments that went with it.
The most flexible people survive and find success. This time through, the change went better than most I have experienced, even though there was more to do as it wasn’t as easy as just packing up, but we also had to ready our old house to be sold. As I said before, we had been ready to move for awhile and although we had many improvements, the change in our timeline meant re-doing some, and more being added.
So I wondered what was different and how did I handle this change better than others? Here’s what I came up with:
• I accepted that the unexpected could happen but knew I could handle it.
• I knew we would have help from our friends and family were there.
• I stuck to my habits, meaning mostly good nutrition (although I had some – like a bag of it – candy corn and peanuts).
• I meditated everyday, but maybe not at the same time.
• I let people know when I was stressed, and I viewed it as normal.
• Last, I let go of unrealistic expectations and focused on the next most important thing.
We struggle when we hold onto past success by clinging to processes that are outdated, and blame and complain, see change as a conviction of poor character while refusing to learn.
Embrace the shake that goes with change. Here’s a great ted talk by Phil Hansen, who did just that.
Like with moving, when it comes to change as an athlete, it’s important to remember:
1) Stay in a learning zone. Don’t box yourself into thinking it will always be this way — it won’t always be this way. Settling into a new normal requires unpacking the old and finding a new place for it. Be confident you can adapt.
2) Adapt. Be satisfied but strive. Your opponents will. Don’t rely on that’s the way we have always done it. Discard poor habits. Create new ones. Tweak what works.
3) Maintain a high performing mindset; View skills, self-talk, game planning as a changeable. Challenge yourself. Self-Forgive. Embrace the uncomfortable.
Success comes when we learn what to hold onto and what to let go of. Moving forces you to do that over and over again (especially when you have 20 years of stuff in one house). Care but don’t overthink, and be confident but coachable. Don’t forget to pay attention to the results and the process, and always differentiate between who we are versus what we do.
When it’s time to change you got rearrange like the Brady Bunch did.