Do you ever walk out the door in the morning for work and expect that you’ll hit every green light on the way to work, there will be no hiccups in your work day, you’ll see all your favorite people, you’ll get off three hours early and you’ll get a raise? Probably not, right?
Do you ever think back to when you were a kid and remember how you thought life would go? Straight A grades with no studying, the perfect job right out of school with more pay than you thought, the perfect house for under way what market is selling, a pet that never touches anything and was house broken when it walked in, a partner that never does one thing to annoy you and you’ve never had a fight. It’s likely this isn’t what has or will happen from our dreamy ages of youth through to those adult years when we look back.
All the things that do happen are a product of who we are and who we become. How we handle the challenges and adversity define who we are. It brings color to our life and develops us into the person we become.
Most of us are smart adults and we already know this, so why am I pointing it out? Because, for some reason, even though we can be good at managing expectations in the rest of our lives, when it comes to our athletic goals, a lot of us have unreal assumptions. As an athlete, how often do you head to your key event and expect everything to go perfectly? How many of us start a sport and think within 12 months we’ll be hitting new records, qualifying for worlds, and reaching the top of our divisions?
Goal setting is key and expecting to perform to your potential is a must for success, however, I’ve seen more athletes kill their own ability to reach the long term top goals they set out because they start crushing themselves over setting timelines and expectations that are so outcome focused they lose the process.
When you do your day to day life, you deal with the red lights on the way to work, you deal with the extra work assignment thrown at you last minute, you deal with spilled lunch on your new suit pants. We roll through the normal day to day life stuff without much thought. So why when we compete or train would we throw our hands in the air when just normal athlete hiccups are thrown our way?
Adversity , challenges, unforeseen curve balls, taking longer than you “thought”… these are going to be a part of your athletic development and journey. The more you can roll through it and keep the big picture, the more chances you have of getting to that top goal of your dreams.