Seasons change. Many things come and go. Deadlines arrive. Appointments are scheduled. Time waits for no one.
Rest comes in doses. Successes are achieved. Failures are felt. Milestones are passed. First steps are taken.
And in the midst of it all, remains the weight of the mental game.
Three years ago, I heard a man by the name of Reggie ask the question, “Are you winning the mental game?”
That one question has resonated with me deeply and it is a question that repeatedly comes to mind during moments of self-assessment and reflection.
So…what is the mental game? How do you define it? And most importantly, how do you win it?
To be completely transparent, I don’t have all those answers for you. I am still on a journey in search of those answers for myself, but I can offer you this insight.
For me, the mental game has been about being present and being intentional. Simple concepts, but live a little bit and you soon realize the practical application can be daunting.
On occasions, my wife and I will tell each other the phrase, “Keep your mind where your feet are.”
This has been a constant reminder for us not to linger too long in the past or stray too far ahead to the future.
Being young professionals with two kids under three, that’s not always easy to do, but the goal isn’t external perfection, it’s internal consistency. And if we can create an internal environment of consistency, then we’ve got a really good shot at building mental resiliency and fortitude.
We want our minds to be in the driver seat not just along for the ride.
“Let the first thing be first. Let the second thing be nothing.”
As a person, I am introspective. I think a lot! I mean a WHOLE LOT.
This becomes a problem at night time when it comes to sleeping, but I am learning to leverage this quality about myself. Instead of just letting my thoughts roam, I am intentional about writing my thoughts, my mood, my emotions, etc. I am constantly trying to create a space for the parts of my life and mind that are still in a “rough draft” phase.
This has taught me what my strengths and weaknesses truly are, while also teaching me the value of preparation.
So instead of just thinking, I now ask myself more questions. I want to be intentional about getting to the bottom of my own intentions.
I do this because I am human, and if I am not careful, I will naturally spend more time with my strengths, which ultimately leads to me frustration and anger on the back end because I’ve neglected the areas in my life that need most preparation.
“Learning to sit in our intentions can make us more attentive to our own state of being.”
CLOSING THOUGHTS & CHALLENGE
The Mental Game is something I am far from conquering, let alone winning everyday.
I will be the first one to tell you that I’d much rather have an opponent or a challenge that I can see, but I believe that after three years the mental game is much less about winning and more about learning.
My three year old son is learning what it means to share his toys with others and later this year he will learn how to play the game of soccer. His learning curve will uniquely be his own.
In that same way, the mental game will be unique to you and the season of life you are in.
BE OPEN TO THE LEARNING CURVE.
And as always, keep moving forward.
– COACH TAINO