In my experience with coaching and leading athletes and entrepreneurs, one of the most common obstacles most people face is expectation. Expectations that others put on them (parents, bosses, coaches, etc) as well expectations they put on themselves. Usually when people experience burnout in sports or work (or life), it's because the burden and weight of these expectations take the fun and enjoyment out of it. What once helped bring them joy and happiness by performing well at a craft has now weighted them down mentally and emotionally with this extra pressure to perform. Their attitude drops along with their performance and they find themselves in a slump or just ready to quit and move on. So what's the solution?
Exchange expectations with gratitude
It really can be that simple. Expectations keep us focused on the past or the future and prevent us from living in the moment. Expectations remind us of what we've done and how we have to live up to our previous successes, or they can remind us of our failures. Expectations also keep us thinking about the future and what could or should be and create an inner anxiety about whether or not we will live up to those expectations. Gratitude keeps us grounded in the moment. It gives us true appreciation for what we have, who we have, and reminds us of why we enjoy living and performing at our craft. Practicing gratitude gives us peace about our past and hope for our future. So when you start to feel the pressure of expectation, exchange it with gratitude. But that leads to another question: how do we find and create a deep well of gratitude?
Build a Library
Regardless of how motivated or dedicated or disciplined any of us may or may not be, we always need a reservoir that we can tap into in times of need for finding gratitude. So we have to build a library. A library of resources that will remind us of our purpose and passion and replenish us with the energy and enthusiasm we need to keep pressing on. A library of positive, uplifting books; a library of positive, motivating podcasts or cds; a library of close friends and family to call on or visit that know enough of our situation where we don't have to explain everything and even their mere presence helps us remember gratitude; a library of inspirational movies; a library of journals or photo albums to remind us of the people and places and events that have shaped who we are; a library of videos or clips of those similar moments; a library of advisors to solicit for help that we can call or text or see that can share wisdom or perspective. A large part of my motivation for starting this blog was to create a library for my kids to have access to these timeless life and success principles that can always be at their fingertips. Through the blog, I also wanted to create a library of THEIR successes for them to remember their accomplishments through my eyes. That is also part of the reason we are launching our podcast in January. Sure it would be great if the podcast captures thousands of listeners, but more importantly, it is building a library of interviews we will have with successful entrepreneurs and athletes that will forever be a reservoir for people to tap into in their time of need.
I encourage you to think about your library. What is the next book you are reading? What can you listen to when you need a pick up? Who can you call? Where can you go to connect with friends, family, or like-minded people? What movie can you watch that will remind you of your passion and purpose? I encourage you to continue to build your library and feel free to share in the comments anything you find to be a useful part of your own library.