I recently posted an article in the media links section of my website about Des Linden and how she almost retired from professional running. The article recalled a 2017 Half Marathon in Australia where Des felt sluggish and lacked motivation. She had spent the previous 2 years training intensely for some really big races, and by the time she got to the Half in Australia, she was burnt out.
Without getting into a full recap (read it here for yourself!), the article really struck me. So often when we see professional or elite athletes on TV or in the media, we see all the good things; the successes, the fame, the triumph. What we don't often see are the setbacks, the obstacles, the dips in motivation, and the self-doubt.
Des' story highlights that lack of motivation and self-doubt happens to everyone, and that it's ok when it does! One of the most important things you can do for yourself is have a life filled with balance and reflection. Train hard when you need to, take a break when you need to, hang with family and friends, read a book, cross train, go on a hike or trail run. Constantly check in with yourself about progress, motivation, boredom, and passion. The key is to listen to your body and your mind.
When I feel self-doubt creeping in or I'm feeling burnt out, I try to remind myself of these things:
Take a break: Sometimes a change of scenery helps.
Switch up my routine: Feeling burnt out can come from boredom or over-training. Cross-training can help.
Remember my why: Why do I love what I do? Why did I get started? Why do I want to work so hard to pursue this?
Challenge my thoughts: If I'm feeling negative, I try to challenge those thoughts and question their truth. They usually end up coming from a place of frustration.
I'm so glad that Des shared her story with the world. Even though she's one of the best runners in the world, by sharing her experience she's helping normalize things we all feel everyday. And she was able to work through them, rediscover her passion, and win the 2018 Boston Marathon, the first American women to do so in over three decades. She heads to Boston again on Monday April 15, 2019, to defend her title. Win or lose, I think she's already won.
To follow along or find out more about this year's Boston Marathon, click here.
I've been doing a lot of thinking lately about life and I keep coming back to this concept of perspective. It's becoming more and more clear to me that perspective is super important. The outlook we have about situations can affect how we think, feel and behave.
For example, some see setbacks as a negative, some see them as opportunities for growth. Perspective.
Some would see losing a job as a door closing, others might say one door had to close so another could open. Perspective.
Fear of failure? How about embracing challenges. Hate making mistakes? How about accepting mistakes as necessary steps to learning and improvement. Hate traffic? What about a reminder to slow down sometimes. Perspective, perspective, perspective.
This concept comes up a lot in the work I do with clients. What is another way to view the situation? Is that perspective helping me or hurting me? If it's more harmful, why not change to a perspective more useful! I'm sure you've heard of the analogy, "The glass is half full or the glass is half empty." Which side do you tend to lie on? I'm more of a glass half full kind of person overall, but I definitely have my days where that glass is half empty for sure. And that's normal. As long as I can eventually get myself back to the glass half full side.
Positive perspectives can help us approach a situation, challenge, or experience with energy, motivation, and balance. Negative perspectives can leave us with fear, anxiety, and low motivation towards a task or experience. To me the choice seems an easy one, to choose a positive outlook. But I know it's easier said and done.
So here are some tips I follow and share with my clients:
Ask yourself these questions...
Why do I have this perspective?
Is this perspective useful?
Is there another outlook that would suit me and this situation better?
An exercise I like to do myself and with clients is called Bad News, Good News. It challenges us to look a situations from another perspective. For example, let's say I was late to a work meeting. I might say, the bad news is that I was late, but the good news is that I know what time to leave next time.
Here are a few more examples of how to use the Bad News, Good News exercise:
The bad news is that my serve in tennis went way passed the baseline. The good news is that I know what adjustments to make for my next serve.
The bad news is that my friend had to reschedule our hang out for tomorrow night and I was really looking forward to it. The good news is that we are going to meet up a few days later instead!
The bad news is that practice was cancelled today. The good news is that I can use this time to train my brain!
Give it a try and see what you think! Challenge your perspective when you feel it's too negative or has a debbie downer feel to it. Once you get the hang out of, I think you'll like the affects it has on your life!
Until next time.....
Hey! I'm Katie, and I specialize in Mental Performance. I believe greatly in mindset and the role it plays in life.