'What is my purpose?' Is a question asked by most at some point in their life. When a person gets to the self actualisation part (see maslows hierarchy of needs) where all their basic needs are met, and they are more likely to ask the question in the quest to figure out their purpose in life and how to be a better person.
How do we figure out our purpose? What are we here to achieve? Bring to the world.
First of all we should ask what we enjoy. What is it we love to do. That inspires us? That makes us get out of bed every morning? What are our passions? Make a list of all the things that you enjoy, and make it a habit of doing one a day whether it be for 10 mins or an hour eg draw, sing, dance, thank someone, help someone...use your passions to drive you daily and make every day fulfilling.
With this list, notice how all the things on it make you feel. Are you excited to the things on your list? Do you have fear? With each one pay attention to the feeling that comes with it and the thoughts that go along with it. If it actually isn't really something you enjoy, perhaps rethink it as a passion so you have more room to do what you are truly passionate about.
Secondly, who do we admire? What qualities do we admire of them? And how can we aspire to be more like them?
Thirdly, make a list of all the things we do without thinking about? What are our natural talents? Sometimes it helps to ask other people this question. Do you have a caring side? Are you dedicated? Are a great musician? Listener? Athlete? we can use these talents to add meaning to our life. How can we use this to help others? How can we use this to be the best we can be??
Lastly, sometimes fear gets in the way of figuring out our life's purpose. Fear of getting started or fear that it can't be achieved. Try to change your perceptions and see it as a challenge. Enjoy the challenge. Embrace it. Use what you are good at to get what you want. Focus on your strengths, your positive qualities...the things you can do and turn fear into excitement. Excitement that comes from the belly, the feeling that you can achieve anything you out your mind to. Because the basis of any achievement is passion, the internal drive, the motivation. So use your passions to be the best you can be.
High expectations; perfectionism and difficulty in dealing with defeat, makes it harder for people to deal with making mistakes in peformance. Nevertheless, the one thing we can guarantee in sport, is that we will make mistakes regardless if you are a top class athlete or an amateur. In football, even the top class players who are earning millions, fail more than they succeed, with Messi having a dribbling completion rate of 40%. To me and to many, he is probably the worlds best dribbler. However, what makes him the best? The fact that even if he does not succeed, he tries and tries again. Some players when they make a mistake, lose seconds, minutes and even hours of their game from not being mentally tough and dealing instantly. Throwing hands in air, critisisng self, getting annoyed - all take seconds out of your recovery when you could be responding both positively and instantly - winning the ball back, encouraging self and others, using mistakes as motivation to challenge self.
The best players in the world are those who can shrug off mistakes, let it go and continue to play in the moment. Of course it is natural as athletes to be disappointed when we don't do our best, always striving to be better but we also have to have realistic expectations of ourselves and have satisfaction in peformance and achievement. Being a perfectionist limits the glory you could have in accomplishment. With realistic self reflection, we can keep confidence but also be motivated for improvement when things don't go our way.
Everyday be the best you and work on positive ways of dealing with mistakes and defeat. You can strive to be the best, work hard to achieve but also find satisfaction in the things you have achieved. Always remember your strengths and that your sport is something you do and not who you are. Be the best person you can be, embrace your successes and this will help improve your sporting world.
Tracy Donachie, MSc in Performance Psychology.