This post was first published Wednesday June 5th, 2017 at www.upwindultimate.com/scratch-goals in partnership with Up Wind Ultimate (Formerly the National Ultimate League). I encourage you to check out their website and keep up with all the great work they're doing!
Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against goals. Effective goals can be an incredible performance enhancer – which I’ll cover in another post. But today I am going to shift our attention away from the goals themselves and talk first about how we go about achieving those goals.
When we think of ‘goals’ we tend to think of things we want to achieve or accomplish. That’s all fine and well. I want to talk about who we become in pursuit of those goals and how to make sure the person you become is the person you want to be. Because at the end of the day, at the end of our sport careers, at the end of our lives – our accomplishments and achievements will be measured not in a vacuum, but within the context of our character.
We can all name high performing athletes who we don’t consider role models. They are the athletes who have plenty of accomplishments, accolades, and trophies to their name, but they don’t demonstrate good character either while competing and/or in life. Interestingly enough, most of those people fade out of the spotlight faster or in a much more dramatic way than those who also demonstrate solid character. This might be because they’re more worried about looking good than being good. It might be because their behavior erodes their support network. I can’t tell you for sure. But what I can tell you is that the performers who have a solid moral compass, robust sense of purpose, and strong relationships outlast and outperform those who don’t.
Today in your homework, I’m going to ask you some deep questions that should get you thinking and may not be easy to answer. These questions are about who you want to be, your core values, what drives you, the people that matter to you and the legacy you hope to leave. Before I do that, I want to give you good reason open up, be vulnerable and devote time and effort to this assignment.
Taking time to define who you want to be and learning to use those values as your driving force and your guiding light in the pursuit of your goals will have several effects:
With that, forget about the things you want to accomplish and think about who you want to become as you strive to accomplish them. This will be your legacy – what you leave behind and the impact you have on others, the sport, and the world.
TODAY’S JOURNAL WORK:
A few preparatory notes:
-You don’t have to complete this in one sitting. It’s totally okay, maybe even encouraged, to read this homework all the way through and let it simmer for an hour or a day before coming back to write down your answers. These are simple questions that can spark deep reflection if taken in the right mindset.
-You can complete this exercise in a group/team setting if you wish. If you take this route, I encourage you to share your answers with one another after each question and have open-minded discussion. This can be an awesome team building/bonding activity.
-This is an excellent activity for coaches (especially youth coaches). Completing it for yourself can help you ensure you’re modeling what you want to be modeling to your athletes every day. Walking your athletes through this as an exercise can help you help you teach them to be self-motivated, hold themselves accountable and…well, just become good people of solid character.
Ready? Here we go.
1) What is the legacy you want to leave? Or, how do you want to be remembered? You can think about this question specific to Ultimate or broaden it to your whole life.
2) Rate yourself on a scale of 1 (poor) to 10 (excellent) on how you’re doing so far living a life that will leave the legacy you wish. This is just a quick self-check. If your number is low, no worries…that’ll just be additional motivation to change. If your number is high, good on you! Identify what specifically you’re doing so you can keep doing it.
3) Who inspires you to be your best self? Who have you modeled yourself after in terms of character? If there is one specific person, write down their name and describe what about them inspires you to live a life of character – is it their words? Actions? Values? Temperament? If there are multiple people, describe the qualities you take as inspiration from each of them.
4) Identify your core values. What ideals do you strive to live up to? If you want, a simple web search for ‘core values’ will bring up lists upon lists to choose from.
5) What’s your why? Why do you do what you do? What drives you? For more explanation and inspiration, watch THIS VIDEO.
6) What does it look like when you’re living your best self? Be specific here. What does it look like when you act on your values? What do you need to be thinking, saying, and doing daily to ensure that the legacy you’re leaving is the legacy you want to be leaving? It might be helpful to identify a particular time when being your best self is most challenging and then writing how you want to respond in those situations instead.
For most club players across the country tryouts are over and you’ve either made your dream team or you haven’t.
Maybe some of you made your dream team and you’re flying high, feeling all the confident feels (feelings) in the world. Or, maybe you made your dream team and now the doubting thoughts are kicking in (“uh oh, am I actually good enough to be here?”).
Maybe you didn’t make your dream team and you’re taking it hard. The thing is…it doesn’t really matter which of those boats you’re in. This post is for all of you. It’s even for all of you who made the team you’ve been playing with for multiple years. This post is for anyone who has ever doubted themselves or their ability.
Let me ask you this question: where does doubt come from? Like always, please actually take a minute to think about this question before reading onward…maybe even write your answer down in your journal.
What did you write down? Where does doubt come from for you?
If you’re like the majority of the people I work with, your answers look or sound something like this:
-Past failure or loss or bad performances
-Other people telling me I can’t
-Me telling me I can’t
-Seeing someone else fail
-Seeing someone else succeed, but that person is way better than me
-Past inexperience – I don’t know what I’m doing, I’ve never done it before
-Not being prepared
-Feeling unfit or unready
Okay good. Let’s leave that right there for now because I want to flip the question.
Where does confidence come from? Like always, take a minute to think about where confidence comes from for you and jot down a note or two.
If you’re like most people I work with, your answers probably look or sound like a few of these below:
-Past success or wins or good performances
-Other people telling me I can
-Believing in myself
-Seeing someone else succeed
-Seeing someone else succeed who is less skilled than me, so I know I can do it
-Other things I’ve done that are similar
-Feeling fit and ready
Here’s the thing. These two lists, the list of doubt and the list of confidence, are essentially the same. The answers can be categorized into the same 4 groups:
-Past experience (things I have or haven’t done; times I have/haven’t succeeded)
-Vicarious experience (watching other people)
-Verbal persuasion (things I say to myself and things others say to me)
-Physical state (my fitness, health, nutrition, sleep)
So…what’s the difference? How or why can something either make you more confident or more doubtful?
You’re probably onto me at this point: it’s all about how you think about it. And that’s exactly my point. Here’s my next question: are you thinking in a way that is generating confidence or fueling doubt?
Much of the time, the way we interpret success and failure is related to the stories we tell ourselves (see previous post). Part of retraining our brains to tell more successful stories and to be more helpful in general is to break it down and retrain our brain in specific areas.
TODAY'S JOURNAL WORK
People often believe that confidence is just a thing that is developed over time. While that can be true, it can also be developed faster if we are more deliberate about our thinking. Your homework today is all about deliberately retraining your brain to generate confidence more than fuel doubt.
To help you with that endeavor, I've got another downloadable worksheet for you (click on the image below to download).
Hi! I'm Piers. I am an Ultimate player, spouse, parent, and human performance coach. My passion and my profession is to help individuals and teams perform at their best through research-based mental skills, resilience, leadership and team dynamics training.
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