Each and every one of us is a unique energy, with unique talents. This uniqueness needs to be given expression to become a reality. But this can only occur if you take on the responsibility to live life by striving to be ‘the best YOU you can be’. This was the essence of a speech that I recently gave to a high school. In order to embrace this idea, I offered the students a simple 4-point plan of action on how to tackle the challenges that they may encounter in life.
There are always TWO or more possibilities when dealing with a situation.
Expand yourself, there is always more to who you think YOU are.
Be optimistic and present in the struggle.
What in you, may prevent YOU from reaching your dream?
On a general level, it is the shift from words to actions that produce champions. Often it is the inability to action one’s words that may prevent you from reaching your dreams. Words are easy to use. Words don’t take much effort. Actions require energy, commitment and hard work.
In all sports, there are many supporters who have all the ‘answers’ to their teams woes just by watching a match unfold on television. Arm chair critics are experts at talking; they believe that they know it all. But they are not experts at doing. Words and actions should never be confused. ‘Talking a great game’ is the easy part; ‘playing or doing a great game’ requires tenacity, quality skills (that have taken months to perfect in practice), dealing with match pressures and an opposition that challenges everything that you have learned; so that you can execute your skills and end up victorious in the on-the-field contest.
On a more personal level there may be unique parts within yourself that may stand in your way as you strive to reach your dream. Let me share two examples highlighting how this may hinder performance. I recently consulted with a professional cricketer who tended to respond in a rather vague, non-committal way when asked to share his thoughts and/or assessments of himself in practice. This prevented him from becoming focused and definite in his actions. After addressing and changing this part of himself, his performance improved drastically. A talented and determined young swimmer tended to ‘over-think’ and become too complex in her thoughts before a major event. This part of herself created doubts and unsettled her. Once she addressed this part of herself, she relaxed more and was able to trust herself and all the hard training that she had done.
On a cricket level, I read with interest the change-room reactions of the SA cricket team after their ‘outstanding composure‘ in their victory against the Indians in the world cup group match. The excessive emotional release off the field highlights the tremendous amount of tension the team is dealing with, as well as the desperation in wanting to prove their worth. I hope that this aspect of themselves and how they embrace a match success, does not stand in their way when the intensity of the tournament increases dramatically in the knock-out phases.
Living life from the ‘inside out’ is the most difficult (yet most satisfying) thing to do. You will need to take on all the responsibility for how things turn out for you. You will not be afforded the luxury to blame others for the mistakes you may make nor be able to fall back on any excuses why things did not turn out the way you may have wished for.