Performing as an elite athlete is not just about achieving a new personal best, beating rival competitors or winning. These fleeting highs often leave a feeling of “what next?”
We want more than that temporary feeling of a good performance and this is particularly prevalent for elite athletes. They want confidence, security and fulfilment. Competitive sporting environments are intense, and outcomes aren’t guaranteed. Even when great results are achieved, the fleeting moments of success alone are not what give us a sense of lasting contentment.
Through the ages, people have endeavoured to manage discontent with temporary fixes such as drugs, alcohol, fleeting relationships, and recognition. As well as creating other problems, these temporary highs don’t leave us with a feeling of contentment either.
More and more, people are realising the importance of discovering what makes them feel complete, content and whole.
In life, we thrive when our actions are based around what is important to us. When we have an awareness of what we value in life, in other people, and about ourselves; we can seek out situations and opportunities in which we might prosper and find personally relevant solutions to challenging circumstances.
Being conscious and mindful of personality factors that drive, and trigger feelings and actions can allow preparation for the trials we face. Similarly, recognising environments, people and situations that assist or impair peak performance is also useful.
Training is not just physical
Knowing and utilising strengths, values and patterns of behaviour, enables athletes to train, communicate, learn and perform at their best. Self-awareness allows for more effective training, as these values can be utilised to drive their training and to motivate them bad days. They are also able to forge meaningful and encouraging relationships with people who support their goals. Training in this way also means behaviour is more natural, thus requiring less mental energy. More energy can then be spent on physical exertion and skill development. Also, motivation is usually higher and there are fewer personal obstacles, so goals can be achieved more readily.
Becoming more aware pf personal drivers can directly enhance performance as competition can be approached in a personally useful manner. Athletes will notice a more positive well-being and manageable sport / life balance, as well as adapting more easily to changes, injuries, disappointments and career transitions. Ultimately, when someone lives in accordance with what is important to them, they are likely to be happier on and off the sporting field because they are being a true to themselves.
Challenge your thinking
Attaining life satisfaction is a journey not a destination. It takes time to know what drives your behaviour and understand the motives behind your feelings and fears. This is not an easy journey for some, and many find it challenging. But challenging yourself mentally is just as important as pushing your physical limits.
Begin by reflecting on what is important to you, and ask people you trust and who know you well, what they see driving and hindering your behaviours. If you ready to begin the challenge to fully perform at your best, then speaking with a sport psychologist can help you with your journey.
To make an appointment with one of our sport psychologists, visit Focus Performance Psychology’s website – www.performancepsychology.com.au