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Soul Decision

As I slowly opened my eyes, feet dangling beside the fireplace and spooned up next to my cat I looked out the window in a dazed confusion.  It’s sort of light outside… is it morning, evening, raining?  Why do I feel so tired? Am I really napping?!

I could blame it on Vegas, and most people would understand that – or on how I just recently wrapped my 8 month season of coaching.  Maybe it is the high of winning and the inevitable release that follows.  Or it could be the training… yep I’ve been doing more than usual…

But I know the truth.  I could notice how my circumstances might affect me, but I don’t believe that energy is a limited resource.  Like the sleeplessness and lack of hunger that new love joyfully creates, energy comes from a fire within – a purpose.  And while I have achieved many goals this year, I feel like I’ve been evading making some decisions with intention.

The thing is that my life is amazing.  Truly it is.  Every single day this year I loved waking up, going to work and I loved being in the gym.  I couldn’t ask for a better roommate and my family is one in a million.  My relationship has changed and grown, giving me a chance to discover pieces of who I am and what I am made of.

And the thing that I’ve been struggling with, that I feel has sapped my energy, can be slotted into one simple question “What do you want to do”?

And I guess I am stumped by this question most because I feel like I have figured out a lot of important stuff this year –

I know who I want to be

  • somebody who is my word
  • who believes that anything is possible for anybody
  • wildly creative
  • committed to the health and wellbeing of myself and everyone around me
  • somebody who inspires others to live their dream

I also know what I want to create in my future:

  • A healthy body and mind
  • Success in beach volleyball
  • A job that I love and that allows me to use all of my talents
  • An amazing relationship that is exciting, challenging, unique and creative
  • A beautiful and blissfully happy family that contributes to making the world better

What I am missing is the details of this.  How do I do this? How much money do I want?  Where do I want to live?  Who do I want to live with? How will I be spending my days?

My friend just started writing a blog, and he truly inspired me to consider declaring what I want and letting the universe take it’s course.  The thing is that I’m not exactly sure how to figure out how to get to what I want.  I seem to get many amazing and unexpected opportunities, and it feels so easy that I wonder if I am letting life happen to me or if I am the driver. I know my starting point, I know my ending point, but it’s the stuff in between that I get confused about.  Do I look 10 years down the road and choose a job that gives me that future, or do I do what I love right now, and trust that will take me exactly where I need to go?  This isn’t a hypothetical question, by the way… I’m looking for insights and ideas, so please share!!

At the end of the day, the more I think about this stuff, the more I know in my gut that there is nothing to figure out.  Trying to figure life out is causing me to feel like a different person than I am.  I feel like this process has taken the spark out of me and I’ve been dragging my feet, rather than reacting to life’s unexpected gifts and ideas.  So in knowing this, and also having to make some decisions – what is the balance?  How do I decide what is right, and an even bigger question would be… is there such a thing as right?

And maybe, just maybe this has nothing to do with making a decision or figuring out some far out purpose.  Perhaps my life will just keep giving me what I need to learn something about myself that I haven’t discovered. And right now it feels like an enigma but as soon as I learn, it will all make sense.  What I have noticed, above all, is that whatever decision I have made in the past few years has always ended up being about self discovery.  And maybe that’s the whole point… more to come as I figure this one out 😉

I read a few quotes about decision that resonated with me and I’m going to post them- feel free to add any comments or email me about your thoughts!

When you have to make a choice and don’t make it, that is in itself a choice.  ~William James

A peacefulness follows any decision, even the wrong one.  ~Rita Mae Brown

It’s not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are.  ~Roy Disney

You’ve got a lot of choices.  If getting out of bed in the morning is a chore and you’re not smiling on a regular basis, try another choice.  ~Steven D. Woodhull

The thing about love is that we use one word to describe a million different feelings, a gamut of experiences, a choice, a goal, and a way of being.  We love ourselves, we love our friends, we love a joke, we are in love with our partner, and we love our hair…  It’s an action and a verb.  It’s permanent and it’s passing. It means a lot and it can mean a little.

And we wonder why we are confused about love.  Why when one person says that they love you, it means something different than when you do…

I’m one of those people that “love” love.  I feel like it’s the answer to the age-old question “what are we here for?”  I think that people find purpose in caring deeply about our planet, and there’s something about feeling so strongly for another human being that we risk being heartbroken.

And as I’m sitting here days before Valentines Day, where love is certainly in the air, I wonder what love truly means to me and how my perception of love has changed and developed through the years.  I mean, it has changed, hasn’t it?

I remember the first time I fell in love.  I was 19, and it was my first boyfriend in university.  I remember this sort of passionate, impatience to how I felt- we literally spent hours, days, and then weeks solid together.  I experienced my first fight, first makeup, first intimate moment, first “I love you”, first betrayal and first heartbreak.  I got it all in that relationship.  And I quickly after met the guy that would be my longest-term relationship so far.  4 years that finally ended in a bittersweet realization that we had outgrown each other.  Tears flowed on and off for months and I literally felt like I might not make it.  I felt physical pain, I questioned my decision, regretted it, then accepted it.  And he soon found somebody new, and 6 months later when he told me he was getting married, I relived it all once more.

I remember thinking “I will never feel like this again”, and meaning it.  I remember the moment- crystal clear, that I decided to never get hurt like that again and I haven’t.  I’ve played my game defensively since then.  Always careless at first in my excitement, “forgetting” the lesson I learned, and then when I noticed what was happening, I would  pull back just as fiercely.  The guys I have stayed with are the ones that were willing to deal with the dichotomy, and that would endlessly forgive my ambivalence.  Those guys, though unbelievable people, I’ve realized aren’t actually the right ones for me.

So now with that awareness has to come change.  If there isn’t change then it means I am operating with the same mindframe as a hurt 23 year old…

The coach I work with uses a quote “what’s in the way is the way” and I think it applies here.  The way to truly be in love is to put ourselves in a position to truly be hurt. For people that have had similar situations to me – every instinct will have us do what we’ve always done, and so it’s important to notice our instincts and feelings, but honour our commitment to changing.

So upon reflection about what love means to me and to answer my initial question – yes, it has changed.  For me, love used to be a feeling that I had.  I needed some way to describe the warmth, connection, and vulnerability that I felt.  Now, it’s changed a little.  It still describes that feeling but unlike a passing emotion, love for me is a choice to keep doing actions that cause me to feel love.  It means choosing to treat my partner with respect even when I’m frustrated, it means making sure people are taken care of and it means deciding not to pull back when I start to feel like I may get hurt.  And it’s the only way, in my opinion, for love to last a lifetime.  I let anger pass, sadness floats away, but love is what I’m committed to keeping.

So this Valentine’s Day I am going to remember how far I’ve come from the 23 year old who decided to be tough.  And maybe after the cinnamon hearts and chocolate truffles and sappy love songs, we can all take a moment to reflect about what love actually means to us and what we want our experience of it to be.  And then do it – put in into action… because at the end of the day, doesn’t Valentine’s Day always end with a little action anyways?  😉

The Superhero Within

I remember being 8 years old, sitting in front of the tv completely fixated on and enamoured with She-Ra: Princess of Power.  I’m not sure if it was her beauty, her strength, or the idea that she could totally take care of herself, but she was special… my superhero.

For those that don’t remember, She-Ra is the alter ego of Princess Adora and the twin sister of He-Man. She was abducted as a baby and grew up as Adora… a seemingly normal girl (not unlike myself of course…!).  When she discovers her power and transforms into She-Ra her destiny is uncovered and this normal girl becomes “The Most Powerful Woman in the Universe”.

But She-Ra was more than just a warrior.  She was nurturing in nature (as opposed to her brother’s more aggressively-based powers), was empathic,  understanding and was able to communication with animals.

Not a bad role model to have, right?

I don’t think that I’ve thought about She-Ra since I was 12 or so.  Today I walked by a Lululemon bag that said “Unwrap your Super Powers” and of course she came to mind.  Which led me to the question: what happened when I started growing up that I forgot that I once had this character that I dreamt about being and perhaps even truly believed in at some level?  Did I replace it with something else or did I just stop imagining?

I’m not sure what the answer is, but something tells me that it’s a combination of both.  I have a feeling we are encouraged to get “realistic”.   Do we stop believing in the magic of transformation and do we cease to see our own unlimited possibilities? Maybe we start to succumb to the societal assumption that we can only hope for that which our parents had, only experience 50% of our marriages being successful and grind our way through our 30’s,40’s and 50’s in hope of security only to realize that we forgot to truly live life along the way.

And while I had a relatively awesome childhood I still struggle to see past some of my own limiting beliefs about myself. I notice that I sometimes buckle to my own insecurities and the more I do it, the more normal it becomes.  Many of the people around me do the same thing and  it becomes so engrained in who I become that I stop seeing that it is not true, it’s just the reality that I’ve surrounded myself with.

See, the thing about She-Ra was that I let her into a place in my imagination that defied my own reality.  And I think I knew deep down that I didn’t have the magic that would transform Spirit into Swift Wind (a talking winged unicorn), but it opened up a part of my mind to start believing in things outside of my own experience, circumstances and existence.

One of the most unusual and creative sport psych tools I have ever heard about was with the sliding team prior to the 2010 Olympics.  They individually met with a Shaman who helped them connect with their own spirit animals.  John Montgomery, skeleton Gold Medallist had a turtle.  With the symbol placed on his helmet, he visualized the turtle sliding with him down the track- smoothly, effortlessly and quickly…

I think there is something about stepping outside of what we consider our own limits, our own bodies and our own minds.  In times where our inner excellence is tested, a fear is being realized or a limit is being set on us, what if we connect to our own inner superhero?  Whether it is one that already exists that possesses all of the qualities that we yearn to have, or perhaps one that we create on our own, why not step into their world, even just for a moment, and see if solutions appear and goals are met.  AND at the same time creatively play in this world!

So in my life, She-Ra has been rediscovered.  I see her differently now than I used to.  Where I used to take her battles at face value, I now see how similar they are to my own.  I see how she never uses her magic sword on the offensive, but only to defend herself if need be.  She never hurts human beings, and she always finds time to connect with family and animals.  Sure, she is beautiful, but it’s no longer about her long blonde hair- her beauty is more about how she finally knows who she is.  And lastly, where I used to notice what she was doing, I now notice how she was doing it.  There is an art to the way she moves and the way she handles a challenge.

So what is my Super Power?  Today it is unleashed imagination!  I’m not sure that Swift Wind will show up on my doorstep, but the fact that I don’t know what will show up means I’m on the right path…

2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

The average container ship can carry about 4,500 containers. This blog was viewed about 22,000 times in 2010. If each view were a shipping container, your blog would have filled about 5 fully loaded ships.

 

In 2010, there were 37 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 40 posts. There were 68 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 13mb. That’s about 1 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was December 4th with 191 views. The most popular post that day was Twilight the metaphor for modern day relationships?.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were facebook.com, twitter.com, en.wordpress.com, iconfactory.com, and 74.125.67.100.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for edward and bella, bella twilight, twilight bella, twilight edward and bella, and twilight edward.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Twilight the metaphor for modern day relationships? January 2010
8 comments

2

The Tribe Has Spoken August 2010
4 comments

3

About December 2009
2 comments

4

I like big BUTs and I cannot lie… March 2010
5 comments

5

Whisky Makes My Baby a Little Frisky July 2010
1 comment

Resolution Evolution

As I sit here at Oz Coffee (my current favorite coffee house) sipping on a long americano, listening to the soft hum of the music in the background, I realize how long it’s been.  How long it’s been since I’ve set aside some time to reflect, to relax, and to write.  The truth is, things have been awesome.  I’d say I’ve spend the past few months living life rather than dissecting it, but with all things, balance is key and so here I am again at my keyboard.

As New Years Eve looms, I realize how perfect my timing is.  It’s the time of reflection, the time of creation, the time of….. resolutions?

I’m on the fence about resolutions.  Most people feel really strongly YES or NO about resolutions.  I’m not sure why it elicits such a strong response but something tells me it’s about people’s experience with keeping their resolutions.  I mean, not many people are actually against goalsetting but maybe in putting it out there and not following up with it, things become a little more personal.

I do a lot of goalsetting with teams and the golden rule is that accountability needs to be in place to consistently accomplish a goal.  Why is that?  Well, for one, I think we forget what our goal was.  It’s usually not already a part of our life, and studies have shown it takes 40 days for something to become habitual so a friendly reminder from another person, or even on your bedside table makes all the difference in keeping the goal (resolution) current.

Secondly, I think that we tend to keep more promises to others than we do to ourselves.  For some reason, we are willing to do things like cancel our workouts and fill our “me” time with work, breaking our promise to ourselves.  This is why the buddy system works so well when working out.  Not because it’s more fun (which it is) or they push us more (which they do).  It’s because we are more likely to show up for them than we would on our own.  We show up so that we don’t let them down.  It’s a beautiful thing, really…. but maybe something to consider that we function like that.  Why don’t we show up so that we don’t let ourselves down? As if breaking our word to ourself doesn’t have consequences in how we view ourselves and our confidence…  I mean, imagine how many promises we break to ourselves on a daily basis- if we did this to a friend would the friendship continue?  Would they trust us?  Would there be a lot of love in the relationship?  And yet we do this over and over to ourselves and we think we are fine.  And we wonder why we date people who treat us poorly, why we sabotage our own goals, or work in a company that makes us miserable.  We search our past, get angry at ourselves, are unforgiving with ourselves, and keep doing it over and over. And we’ve missed the whole point.  We need to be own very own best friend.

For me this past year, goalsetting has become a random, everchanging system where I really couldn’t assess whether or not I accomplished my goals.  There was no list I can go back to of things I wanted to achieve, no milestones to assess whether or not my path was taking me to the goal, and no criteria that I met that I could actually say, “YES, I did it!”  Did I accomplish goals last year?  Yes.  For sure I did.  But how cool would it be for me to be able to say I want______, I did ______, and I got ________.  Not just to pat myself on the back, but when things aren’t going well, it is really really good to know and to have practiced what works to get what I want.

So when it comes to resolutions, this year I’m a YES.  But not some blue-sky one-off mention of something I want.  A plan, a project if you will, so that I can actually actively pursue a path, rather than just seeing what I get.  I’ll treat my life like a business – not as in being super serious about it, but to be deliberate and have intention within it.  And then see what happens and what I get!  And if what I want changes, I will change my plan, but at least I’ve got one.

For people that know me, it won’t shock you that I’ve created this massive goalsetting spreadsheet.  I’m a nerd that way and my boyfriend will attest to how I will probably analyze and graph my results at the end of the year 😉  And I’d be happy to pass it along to you if you want a template…. BUT, for those of you that want something simpler, I’m below is a little goalsetting process that you could do in 5 mins.  I mean, why not?   Just see if writing it down helps you to create it in your life, because there is nothing worse than sitting down a year from now with the same resolution.  Maybe it’s time to keep a promise to ourselves simply because we matter…

GOAL:  make your goal specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely- S.M.A.R.T)

Goal 1: ______________________________________________________

MILESTONES: Make them time specific if possible… Basically, what is the path to your goal?  how will you know you are on target.

Milestone 1:

Milestone 2:

Milestone 3:

REFLECTION AND ASSESSMENT: This is the date where you either cross off the goal if you have accomplished it, recommit yourself to it, or change your goal if it no longer serves you.

Reflection Date: _______________________

 

Example:

Goal 1:  Lose 10 lbs by May 1, 2011 (notice it is a S.M.A.R.T goal)

Milestones 1:  Jan.1 – Buy a gym membership, and begin tracking workouts

Milestone 2: Feb 1- Complete 15 workouts

Milestone 3:  March 1- Weigh 195 lbs (-5lbs)

Reflection Date:  March 1, 2011

C is for Cookie

So it all started with Oprah, which most things these days seem to start with…

My mom was watching the show last year on a rare day off from work and comedian Steve Harvey was the guest.  He was promoting his new book about  relationships and specifically about how women are going wrong- seriously wrong.

So, as you may have already guessed my mom started listening a little more intently and with her kids in mind as Harvey answered  questions about love, sex and dating.  I mean, sure this was supposed to be a day off Olympic planning for her, but maybe she could use this time to help US move from the singles event to pairs 😉

Now, I wasn’t watching the show, but my mom felt so inspired to share his thoughts that she declared at dinner that we need to hold on to our cookie  (what?) and followed up with passing along his book for us to read (my mom bought and read a book about dating?).  Oh, this will be interesting…!

So I read it, and I’m going to paraphrase the sh*t out of it but here is the main concept of this book (taken from Oprah’s website):

Though a woman might want many things from a man, Steve says men only need three things: support, loyalty and sex. Or as Steve calls it, “the cookie.” “We’ve got to have your support. Whatever adventure we’re out on, whatever pursuit in life, we need your support. Then we need your loyalty. That’s your love. We’ve got to know that you belong to us,” he says. “And we’ve got to have a cookie. Everybody likes cookies. That’s the thing about a cookie. I like oatmeal raisin…but if you’ve got vanilla cream, I’ll eat that too.”

So he goes on to describe how women give their cookie away too early – all of it!  It’s  the 2010 version of “The Rules”… take your time, have a life, make sure your guy knows he’s what you want, and hold on to your cookie for at least 90 days.  Yes guys, I’m being serious.   Three. Whole. Months.

So The Cookie started to get a whole bunch of floor time at our family dinners.  It was explained, debated, accepted, rejected.  My friends thought it was impossible, my brother declared he was a cookie-monster 😉 , my sister said that this was archaic dating behaviour and we’ve moved so far past this as women, and I decided to try it out. The Cookie was now an intricate part of our daily life and yet I wasn’t ready for what came next…

A couple weeks later we all went out for some drinks at a bar downtown, and as a new guy offered to buy me drinks and attempted laughing at even my cheesy jokes, my sister (sitting beside him on the other side) started a conversation that I only jumped into at the end.

her: “you know, you won’t even get her cookie for 3 months – she’s all talk…”

him: “what’s a cookie?”

her: “her COOKIE… she seems all fun and carefree but she’s like a…a…. she’s a double chocolate chip cookie”.

him:  “those are awesome!”

her: “no, they are the cookie that looks like everything you want and are SO bad for you.  And you buy it, and it’s way too sweet and you can only take a bite before it gets to be too much”.

And there she had declared what kind of cookie I was – Double Chocolate Chip

In her mind, the cookie that never truly satisfies…. but that’s just her opinion, which is what the beauty of the cookie is – everyone has different tastes!

So fast-forward a week and we have all declared what kind of cookie each of us is, and why.  And if you are reading this you are, no doubt, going to find a cookie that perfectly describes how you are in a relationship.  And it’s yours to keep or to give away, to hold on to, or to rebake to become a new kind of cookie if you so choose.

The Double Chocolate Chip:  It’s a lot, a whole lot.  Fun, a little sinful, and you never know exactly what it will be like.

Chocolate Chip Cookie: (mae) Great balance, but has a wild side.  Classic, yet all satisfying – not a daily treat but could be a weekly indulgence!

Oatmeal Raisin:  (jenna) this is the betty crocker of all cookies.  Wholesome, hearty, the kind of cookie that will send you on your way with a packed lunch.  It’s a classic but you aren’t sure if it’s a treat or not…

Mulitcolour Smartie Cookie: (stacy) Hmmmm… who picks a smartie cookie?  Someone who is in for a crazy ride!  Someone who never knows what they are going to get but wants the adventure and all the randomness that goes with it.  But it’s an awesome cookie and almost impossible to find 🙂

The Ginger Snap:  (sally) This is a cookie that you love or you hate.  It has a cult following – I mean, if you love ginger snaps, probably no other cookie satisfies.  In fact, you may not even like cookies but there’s something about a ginger snap that transcends the cookie label!

Oreo:  My personal favorite.  A little of everything.  And full of layers… it can be eaten all together in one bite, or slowly savoured, or separated into it’s different layers.  Chocolate or vanilla satisfies every mood. And dunk it in milk and it’s a whole different cookie.  This one keeps me interested…

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip:  (Lola) This is the one that I aim to become.  That I hope I’ve already become.  Classic awesome chocolate chip with a little wholesomeness.  Or another way to describe it is a double chocolate chip toned down… the 30 year old version to a 20 year old cookie 🙂

The breakfast Cookie: (hanna)  So this one is not a treat, even though you love it.  It’s the healthiest cookie there is. You could have it everyday, and you do.  But it takes awhile for you to acknowledge that you are actually eating a cookie.

The Power Cookie: (Farrah) This cookie isn’t kidding around.  It puts you in your place… it’s always in the zone.  While you may mistake it for a breakfast cookie, the power cookie is a challenge.  The extra protein, nuts and chocolate make you wonder if you can handle one in a sitting. This gives you something to chew on between bites and for some crazy reason, you keep coming back for more…

The Vegetable Cookie:  (harminder) Is there such a thing, you may ask?  Well, I declared that it exists and while I’ve since backpeddled to try to dub it as carrot cake or zucchini loaf, the truth is that as I hurled my accusation at my friend Harminder (that he is a vegetable cookie), I will never redeem myself for it 😉  And in a lot of ways he is a vegetable cookie.  He is massively good for you.  So good for you that every single friend of mine wants a vegetable cookie.  And since there are no others that I know of yet, he’s got a lot of work to represent this kind of cookie. But you marry this one.  Because, I mean, it takes guts to be a cookie that doesn’t include sugar!

So since this has all happened (over a year ago)  I’m pretty over being double chocolate chip.  I agree with my sister that it’s just a special occasion cookie and I’m more interested in being at least a weekly treat! So I think I’ve progressed, or am trying to progress to a chocolate chip oatmeal cookie.  Wholesome (just a little), with the chocolate that I’m known for and that adds a little adventure.

And as for the 90 day rule – I kind of get it.  There’s no question that  getting to know a person helps us make better decisions, and as soon as you throw in too much intimacy too soon (any kind of intimacy), it can cloud things.  But to declare a time frame seems artificial.  It seems contrived.  I think the 90 day rule is more about self awareness and growth as a potential couple than anything.  It’s so that we have time to see the ingredients behind the label of the cookie.  Cause what looks like a chocolate chip cookie could be carob, and we all know that the savoriness of vegetable cookies could be masked with a little apple or orange flavour.  But it takes time to figure it out.

So what kind of cookie are you right now?  And the question is, does it serve you?  Like, are you attracting the kind of cookie you want with the kind of cookie you are being?  Bring on the oreo 😉

I’ve been so lucky this past 2 months.  I get to walk into a gym everyday with the 2009 CIS Volleyball coach of the year, and  a group of girls that range from academic all canadians,volleyball all-stars, and team captains who have just won three national championships in a row.  And I get to be a part of creating a team with these unbelievably talented, unique human beings.

And you’d think it was easy, right?  Like, take 18 of the best, smartest volleyball players in the country, a coach with 26 years of experience, trainers who are innovators in their field, assistant coaches who are well practiced in the art of teaching and inspiring, all of whom exemplify excellence and want to win volleyball games and it all works out…. right?

Well, I don’t think that’s all there is to it. And maybe for the seasoned coaches that may be reading this, that is an obvious statement.  That the best teams were not your championship teams necessarily, that there was something beyond the obvious that makes a championship team.  In fact, it seems to me that the higher the caliber of the people on the team, the more complex and detailed the creation of that team needs to be.  There are no “yes-men” on the team… because you can’t be that way to get to the top. There is nobody that doesn’t know how to win. There is nobody who is not self-aware.  There is nobody that hasn’t been a leader on a team… and you put it all together and it doesn’t just exponentially increase the leadership, awareness, and success of the players and team.

What it does is exponentially increase the POTENTIAL of the team.

And what is potential?  It’s not real (yet), and it’s not the goal.  I actually used to love when somebody said that I had potential and as the years passed I started to hear something very different as the words came out of their mouths.  I wondered why I still had potential.  I realized that the key is in accessing this potential – finding ways to get it out and to express this possibility on and off the court.

A great coached shared a quote with me that I want to share with you:

“A team is a small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, performance goals, and approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable”.

So, a team isn’t all of their potential – their potential is just how high the ceiling is on their capabilities.  What a team is, is commitment to a common purpose.  It’s not just the sum of 18 players and 4 coaches.  It’s the brand new created vision of what they want to do together.  And it often means putting aside some personal goals and visions for the greater vision of the team.  OR, for the seasoned athlete and coach, to reframe some of the personal goals to fit into the common vision, because there isn’t anything that will destroy a team faster than a player that does what they need to do outside of the vision and goals of the team.

Take one situation:  Player X wants to be a starter (obviously!).  And they aren’t because the coach believes the team will be more successful starting Player Y and using player X as a substitute.

Many athletes have been in this situation and here’s where I think a champion is created… in how they use this situation, which is obviously contrary to their personal goals.  They have two choices.  Either A.  Continue to contribute to the team, use each opportunity to learn and perform and be creative to find ways to stay on the court, including learning how to be the best sub ever (and considering that it’s not who starts the game that’s important, it’s who ends it)… or B. Get frustrated because you want it to be different, you want the coach to see your perspective and you don’t think it’s fair.  Performance and connection to the team suffer and you just solidify your position off the court.

I’ve been in both situations, and it’s awfully hard to swallow personal goals in the pursuit of a team goal, but it’s the only way a team will reach their potential.  So in becoming a part of the team, the commitment is made to the common vision.  No matter what feelings or thoughts come up.

It’s not much different in a relationship, is it?  I mean, I’m sitting here writing about coaching and playing and really getting how this truly applies to everyone.  A relationship is a team.  I mean, it has to be in order to exponentially increase potential.  Common goals and visions have to be created together (and I stress TOGETHER as there is no power in each person individually doing this.  It’s why teams vote for captains and do goalsetting sessions together – you can’t tell people what their goal is or they are not invested in it or accountable to it).  And after, each partner needs to do what they need to to to manifest that vision so that it doesn’t stay as potential.

And I think that the stronger the love, the stronger the two people and the larger the vision, the more complex this becomes because of the raised roof on what is possible.  Because it’s not 1+1=2, or at least, it doesn’t have to be.  And it may become 1-1= 0 if we kill off the other persons part of the vision. Or it could be 1+1= 2 (to the power of x), which really has no limit  (I can’t do complex math symbols on here- sorry math people!!)  And if we can’t get past everything we think we need or perceive, no matter how much it makes sense to US individually, then we may as well be a part of an individual sport because putting the team ahead of the individual means that we may be on the bench for a game every once in awhile and just trust that the process will make us stronger.

One thing that I say to the teams I work with is that if each person takes care of each other and doesn’t worry about themselves, then the payback is massive.  It’s perhaps even 17-1. You’ve got 17 people who’ve have your back, rather than just 1.  But in order to do that you truly have to give up taking care of yourself because you now have 17 people to contribute to.  And it’s the same with relationships.  Is it possible to truly stop worrying about ourselves in order to become the best teammate possible?  And know that we will be taken care of, and maybe in a different and more powerful way than we ever thought possible? I’m not sure if that is realistic but I have a hunch that’s what it’s all about.  That’s the next level of love, of commitment, and of excellence. And I think it would be really cool to see what that’s all about.