The Life Lessons Of Competitive (Performing) Sports – OWN It

There are countless benefits to participating in competitive and / or performing sports, but one of the best lessons therein embedded is the idea of “owning it.” 

What does it mean to “own it”? Fear, anxiety, self-doubts be dammed, you walk on the floor or take the ice like a champion, PERIOD, as if you know you’ve already taken first place.

At first blush I thought that concept was not only egotistical, but also downright rude – I (I know – GASP!) actually cared about my competitors, and felt it was important never to seem cocky or rude, or even a hair too self-confident. It felt wrong to me, as if I might offend someone or be misconstrued as an insensitive person.

Really!?

Competitive sports are just that, and I’ve witnessed such an array of absurd / inappropriate / infantile behaviors over the years you wouldn’t even believe them…not only on the part of my fellow competitors, but their parents / significant personages in their lives. There’s plenty of “ugly” going on behind the scenes and perhaps for that reason I felt particularly compelled to rise above it and ensure that people knew I was a good person who sincerely wanted us all to succeed. 

 

 

Well…no one really cared WHAT I was thinking or how I came across! I wasn’t that important in the scheme of things (as it is said, no one is paying attention to you because they’re too busy with / worried about / preoccupied with themselves!) Yes, I’m the INFJ queen of reading into things and I was certain that I might offend someone if I acted a little too sure of myself…

But, as the Grinch once said, “W R O N G O!”

I learned very quickly in my competitive and performing career that my attitude was always VERY apparent – not only to my partner (in the case of dancing), or to my coaches and family, but to every person in the audience…and the judges. If I wasn’t 1,000% confident, it was visible – it is no matter who you are. How, you ask…?

When our self-confidence falters, we don’t carry ourselves the same way – our self-doubt often manifests as over thinking. And OVER thinking causes a host of physiologic changes in our body, posture and movement:

  1. We become more rigid, less fluid and flexible in our movements, as if they are contrived and strained
  2. Our breathing becomes shallow and we are aware that we might be sweating…
  3. Not to mention the torrent of butterflies that decided to stampede the “calm” within us right at that moment. Sigh. Nice timing!
  4. We also show it in our face…we lose the smile or seem overly concerned, so much so that our expression can be easily misconstrued as something negative by anyone observing us. Never a good thing when performing, in an interview or presentation, meeting someone for the first time etc….

It is therefore CRUCIAL that we pull it together and act AS IF (article here). As if what? As if we know damn well we are going to win, wow the crowd, have the desired result we want etc…

That doesn’t mean it’s easy because some of us may not totally have that self-confidence. YET. Owning it is very much a “fake-it-till-you-make-it” thing…and that’s okay. You have to PRACTICE.

You have to push the discomfort to the side and recognize that your internal “stuff” is going to show externally. People will also FEEL it, so if you want to come off as a shining star, you need to be sure your energy is aligning with that vibe. When you “own it,” you help to get the brain on the same wavelength as what you are aiming for, and that will make a world of difference in how you are perceived.

Remember, owning it doesn’t mean you are cocky or rude or anything else that may feel “negative” to you. It’s about acknowledging all the asweomeness you have to offer, and ensuring that others catch a positive vibe from you. If they are wondering what your problem is, think you aren’t taking the opportunity seriously, or that you don’t’ believe in yourself, they are going to reflect that in the scores / in their response to you (or your performance.) If you want to bait them hook-line-and-sinker, you want to be absolutely certain that they know you feel confident in your abilities, and that you KNOW you have value. It will be clear in every aspect of your behavior and physicality. 

So next time you have to get out there…shake your tail feathers, smile a huge smile, and say to yourself, “I OWN this. I already know I have the result I want because I have all the tools I need to achieve that, and the hard work and talent to back it up.”

Go GET IT!

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We Don’t Meet People By Accident

I have always believed that people come into our lives for a reason. And I believe that – in time – it has always proven to be so…

Whether a stranger with whom you briefly converse, or a best friend of many years, there are always lessons, blessings, or both that we gain as a result. 

There is ever an underlying purpose in paths crossing. . .

Sometimes people bring a lesson we so desperately need in effort to grow in our strength and resolve.

Others teach us just by being who they are . . .

Perhaps they expose our rougher edges, much in need of love, repair, and polishing…

Perhaps they awaken the idea that what has worked for so long no longer truly serves us in a positive way.

And perhaps they bring out what is best in us – our ability to love, to cherish, to smile, to laugh…

One of the most valuable lessons we learn is that we are all different – sometimes drastically so!

We process differently…

We see the world through lenses colored by our own unique experiences which are, therefore, of a hue no other person will truly comprehend first-hand.

We learn that our ways of doing things may work best for us, but that they may not work for others…and that’s okay.

We develop an overarching understanding that expectations based on what we know / believe / feel may lead to disappointment (because we don’t all think alike). . .but also that we have a right to how we feel.

Being human means, ultimately, a very complex life! But we can find freedom in recognizing that we are different, and only in control of ourselves… In that way, we accept what is, we accept others as they are, and we do what we can about our contribution.

Some people will drift out of our lives as quickly as they came. . .and others will profess a love and commitment so deep that they will ever be by your side.

Both have given us gifts.

Either way…we are changed (and, in spite of human “baggage” that we all may carry, I’d argue for the better – Opened eyes don’t close as easily, and hearts that have weathered many storms are stronger in the end. . . )

 

Appreciating What We Have

This is one of those life must-haves…but in the whirlwind of daily living, it’s easy to forget to take a moment to truly appreciate all we have.

To love with every ounce of our hearts, and to respect no matter the circumstance means that we are ever conscious of the good in our lives. It sends the message to the Universe that we value the gifts and blessings.

One of the bigger lessons I learned early on was when I was told about someone’s therapy experience. Yep, not my own (in which I have learned much!)…but someone else’s…

They had been complaining about another person and the therapist said “what if they passed away?” The reaction was a staggered “what do you mean?!” He said, “what if they were no longer here? How would you feel about those ‘annoyances’ then?”

That moment was enough to change the whole tune. Literally evermore. It’s okay that we are human and feel as we do – the good, the bad, and the ugly. But it is also important for our well-being that we regularly check in with the good that we DO have – the things, the people, the animals, the circumstances…that make our lives better, happier, richer. . .more worth living.

I think about this often, but it was especially on my mind today. I’ve been thinking about my female jungle cat, who would be 13 today, and about how much gratitude had a part to play in our lives together. The bond with her and her brother was one that delved deeply, and struck me square in the heartstrings from the get go.

Part of me wants to apologize for feeling so deeply – I’m never unaware of the losses others have weathered, neither do I think anyone wants to deal with tears! Part of me wants to explain (or try to) that these were wild animals who never allowed another human “in” their circle…so it’s not quite like having a “pet” (which I’ve never really called an animal to whom I have been a guardian anyway.)

But I don’t want to have to explain, or justify. I just want to cherish that I had the fortune of my two jungle cats’ companionship, love and trust…and that while they were living I made a point to tell them “I love you” every single day.

In spite of feeling really blue, I know that I was “in the moment” so much of the time we were together. I was aware that time would run out one day, and so I always made sure to tell them what they meant to me, and to kiss them on their sweet little (big!) heads. Never mind it wasn’t in meows or mews… We spoke a language only we could understand…and it worked brilliantly.

Happiness And Peace Are Up To You

As an empath and co-dependant type, this is something I work on regularly – I’m worlds better  than I once was, and I’m able to hear this sentiment in my mind even during the toughest times. I’ve referred to this idea often because it’s juts so powerful. . .

I remember watching Labyrinth as a kid – you remember that film with David Bowie as the Goblin King, right?  Yeah, that one.  (Don’t judge!) Well, for whatever the reason, I always noted – rather firmly – the “you have no power over me” part (the phrase alluded to in my early post, as linked above.)  It just stuck.  That said, I didn’t really apply it to myself until many…many…moons later.

Today I find myself going back to the sentiment – OFTEN.  As they say, everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about.  You never know what’s going on with someone else, and therefore cannot know the impetus behind their actions.  The reactions others have are (truly) their own and what we see is not always an accurate reflection of the full picture. Because of this, it is important we remind ourselves that whatever negativity comes our way – no matter the form – it doesn’t have power over us unless we let it.  

As human beings, we feel – for empaths, profoundly – and that’s okay.  But we do have a choice about whether we go flying off the tracks in anger, sadness, hurt etc…based on the actions of others.  We don’t HAVE to.  Neither they, nor any other junky energy, need ruin a beautiful day, or change our positive approach – only we can decide that.

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Inner Peace

Ever and always some of the best advice on the planet…

Behavior or actions generally come with – what I perceive as – “pre-existing conditions.” There’s:

. . .Past experiences

The stresses of our current lives

Our mood(s) at any given moment, and. . .

Whatever beliefs and conditioning we have had over time.

That’s a LOT. . .

So just as with us, another person’s behavior(s) and actions(s) aren’t because of you, about you, or even your fault.  Most of the time it’s all that other “pre-existing” stuff that gets in the way…

“You have no power over me” is one of the most incredible phrases you will ever have in your arsenal, and it’s one you should say in your mind often.  No one has the right, nor the ability, to control you, your emotions, your thoughts, your attitudes, your behaviors…or your day!  Only YOU have that power, so don’t knowingly give it away by letting their “stuff” creep in.

Definitely easier said than done but it truly is like having peace in your pocket – peace is in your possession at ALL times.

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Keep Trying

I have not fact-checked these myself but lord knows you could research any number of “famous” folks, take a look at his or her track record, and garner the same fundamental idea. . .

DON’T. GIVE. UP.

We hear about the people who make the limelight, or contribute to an industry or the population on a relatively large scale – but that doesn’t mean hundred of thousands of other people around the globe aren’t ALSO achieving their dreams, crushing their goals, and reaching success…in their terms.  

Whether you fail at one thing a hundred times, or several endeavors once. . .don’t lose heart.  

Keep striving for what matters TO YOU.  

Keep working hard, keep feeding your dreams.  

The failures help us learn what to do better, and sometimes redirect us completely to land us on the path meant of us. You are often so much closer than you think – keep up the great work.