Updated: Dec 26, 2019
Recently I was texting with a good friend and former college teammate of mine about his son and instilling life lessons through sports and classroom with him. No doubt a challenge for all parents. As we are eager for academics and athletics to help mold our kids, I believe the key to supporting our young athletes is always emphasizing the mindset needed to accomplish what they set out to do. Often as we get into our books and playing field strategies, we overlook the foundational mindsets that will be necessary not just as they grow, but their life beyond. Kudos to my buddy for his intentions and desire to do so. He's a good Dad!
In helping best support our kids, below are three key things I believe reinforcing will help your athletes begin to shape the mindset they need to acquire the skill sets they are after.
1) To become Better is to be Different than before.
The routine usually goes like this with the audience. Raise your hand if you like change. Few if any hands go up. Now, raise your hand if you want to get better? All hands go up.
To enjoy the status quo and atmosphere of average is to marinate in the mundane. When you are striving to be great, your path passes failure, mistakes and loses behind knowing they are simply landmarks towards progress. Without those landmarks we may get further off our path. There's an old saying that a traveler isn't the same person from one destination to another. Like the traveler, as we make progress we slowly evolve into a different person. What also is true about the traveler is that one person's path is not necessarily yours. Your journey will be different and if you want to be great you'll have to do things differently than those before you.
2) Change will require Challenge
In embracing our initial resistance to any change, it always lends itself to challenges. The old cliche, you can't spell challenge without change keys to this truth. It is the challenges in life that change us. Often, however we are fooled by our initial resistance into also thinking the greatest challenges lie in the beginning. That is, if we can avoid failure early on, we will easily reach success.
Peering to the image to the right you can see this misconception illustrated. As your path to success continues your determination and persistence becomes more critical, not less. If the image on the top were true, the greatest determination and persistence would be needed at the beginning. While we do first conquer initial resistance and early shortcomings, this not how reality plays out.
3) Discipline Accelerates Change.
No matter the advancements in the world around us, consistent discipline is the shortest route to your goals and successes. Taking the above illustration, the line does not get wavy and mis-directed when it reaches failure, it continues straight on through. Trusting your process and being disciplined to it is the shortcut. Don't allow circumstances and disappoints to drive your vision off course. You must keep your vision of your success alive and allow your vision to drive your circumstances. Not everyone will share your vision. That's ok. Someone once told me, there will always be more people at the finish line, so don't allow distractions to take you off course. Often we have to gain ground on our vision before anyone else will see it too. Consistent discipline is the driver forward.
If you can dare to be a bit different, embrace challenges and stay disciplined you'll soon find there is less competition at the top. It is the mountain of average where the masses are.