Recently I saw one of those “motivational” pictures doing the rounds on Facebook. It was aimed primarily at people wanting to improve their sports performance but I think the sentiment behind it was meant to be universally applicable in the field of human “achievement”.
It went something along the lines of “look in the mirror and meet your competition” . What I took from those words was : if I want to improve (or achieve anything in life) then the best way to do this is to compete against myself.
10 years ago, as a hard–core perfectionist, this would have really appealed to me. I’d actually think it was quite healthy too ~ the ability to drive myself to higher and higher standards, knowing that I had a worthy adversary in myself.
I hold a very different view now because that way of thinking created separation within me ~ I was setting up inner conflict. If one part of me wins, then the other part loses. In this paradigm, I am in struggle against the very fibre of my own being ~ and in creating this internal separation, I create external separation. I begin to believe that success is predicated on competition : on being better than (or worse than) , on winning (or losing) , on succeeding (or failing). It’s me against the world (and just for the record, that pattern takes a huge amount of energy to sustain).
Somehow the psychological maths didn’t add up. Surely, if I want to achieve anything, it’s best to have access to ALL my resources rather than some of them? Surely it’s better to have all of me heading in the same direction, rather than part of me? And which part of me am I competing against anyway? Why would I want to compete with myself at all? Would I really want a part of me to lose?
So I changed my mind about the whole success thing. I decided that I wouldn’t compete with myself, I would collaborate with myself instead. I would welcome everything I had onto the team ~ even the most unlikely candidates! Of course, I’d welcome the likes of passion, focus and endurance on board. And also I’d welcome those who were usually left sitting on the bench ~ frustration, anger, shame, hurt and the rest of those “bad boys”. It’s a bit of a raggle~taggle squad, I’ll give you that 🙂 .
I’ll tell you something straight : there is an incredible amount of energy available to you when you’re not resisting who you really are. There is an incredible amount of energy available to you when you welcome your whole self onto the team (and I’m of the team management philosophy which believes that if a team member turns up to the practice field, he gets to play ~ no matter how skilled he is… because eventually, he learns how to be part of the wider team and he’ll find his natural place in the squad). I don’t just want a few good individual players – I’m looking to build a squad which can work well together , a squad which can respect all team members and their roles. I want a team that really wants to play for me – I want ALL of me on my side.
When I go training now, I no longer compete against myself. I collaborate with myself. And if you were to ask my which side I’m on, I would answer : I’m on all my sides!
Look in the mirror and meet your team. (And yes, my sports performance is improving 🙂 #WinWin )
© Jane Talbot 2013