An expectation is something you expect to achieve, a goal or something to aspire to which in the competitive world of sports, plays a huge part in performance yet in my experience of working with players at high levels there is a common denominator that limits the growth and potential of players.
Unrealistic expectations set by others.
When someone else sets your expectations or the player hears the expectations from others so often they begin to believe them, the only outcome can be failure and it was this situation I found myself hearing from a current client.
This player had played at the highest level, representing his country yet inside he felt he was failing because he wasn’t able to live up to the expectation of others.
The unrealistic expectations he’s heard forever, left him questioning his ability and performance at the end of each game and this had gone on for many years.
He sees himself as a failure in some ways even though he’s doing well in some areas.
We talked and we were able to reframe his thinking and his understanding of expectations and the value of setting his own expectations because when you set your own expectations and achieve them, there is a greater sense of accomplishment and success than when others set you unrealistic expectations.
This reframing of his mindset frees him from the sense of failure of not living up the the unrealistic expectations which does two things:
Allows him to play more freely and with purpose
Heightens his well being
Many players are suffering due to unrealistic expectations placed on them, yet they tolerate them because they think being a professional sports player involves tolerating the hard times because that’s what it takes to win.
Coaches get it wrong when they set players unrealistic expectations, because they are simply setting them up to fail which can lead to some players dropping out of the game, losing motivation and in some instances worse, and who wins in these situations.
If you’re a coach, I urge you to talk to your players about expectations and the value in allowing them to set their own.
If you’re a player then I urge you to learn to set your own expectations and shut out the noise that others place on you.
Thanks for reading and remember to Take action, Reflect, Adjust and repeat
What thoughts and emotions did you just experience?
Sometimes in life and sports, others expect a lot more of you than you are capable of and when these unrealistic expectations are presented to you, one of three things will happen.
You will make an excuse not to attempt to try
You will half-heartedly give it a go
You will do it to the best of your ability
It’s usually those closest to you that set these unrealistic expectations and each person will have a reason to set us these tasks. It could come from family, parents, your manager or coach because they want the best for you. They want you to succeed and somewhere down the line they have heard a person can improve by being pushed to be better and as much as I agree to that sentiment to some degree, if the person isn’t ready to be pushed, those expectations from others won’t be accomplished.
When this happens, there is some trust lost between the two and fractured relationships can occur, therefore hindering any further growth.
So what can you do?
Putting those unrealistic expectations to one side, what do YOU expect of yourself? (Be selfish)
How far out of alignment are your expectations compared to those unrealistic ones, others are setting you?
There is something very powerful about setting your own expectations with the right guidance and I want to be clear on what that guidance is because if you’re a person who really wants to improve, you have to get it right.
If you took away your fear of letting others down and living up to others expectations, what expectations would you set yourself?
Write down three things you improve but make it realistic. As an esports pro you might want to get more sleep, eat healthier or improve your mindset.
Secondly, select just one of those things and tell yourself you’re going to improve in this category in so many weeks, by doing x more consistently.
Now all you do is begin to take action and this is where setting your own expectations becomes powerful.
Now you have a choice.
You will either do it, or you won’t.
If you don’t reach your expectations, you overstretched your capabilities so you must reflect and make adjustments.
If you do reach your expectations, enjoy that feeling when you achieve because that is true growth!
Here at Elite Sports Minds 23 we have deliberately and purposefully created a model that any aspiring athlete can implement right now to give them the best chance for success.
The key to succeeding involves many factors and principles and you should take note that it’s your thoughts that drive you forward.
There is a recipe for success, just as there’s a recipe for baking a cake.
The principles are similar in the sense you have a list of ingredients and a method to follow and when you use the correct ingredients in the right amounts and follow the method, you’ll end up with a great cake.
Here are list of ingredients that help you move towards success…
Have a desire or need to want to improve
Have an open mind to learning new concepts and perspectives
Have an ability to take action
These are the base ingredients you need to have before you are ready to start to use the other ingredients because without a solid base or foundation, everything else you do will come crashing down.
So before you move on, can you honestly say you agree and are able to build the base ingredients into your life?
The next 7 ingredients are the ones that add flavour and substance to your career.
Let’s explore each one to help you understand how to use each ingredient
Your reality is where you exist. Your reality is your perception of where and who you are. Those that are failing often live in the past or think too far ahead meaning they are stuck on past glories or perceive them to be better than they actually are.
When you accept your reality, you accept your faults, your strengths, your weaknesses but most of all, you accept where you are with confidence knowing you can now make truthful moves forward
When you create your vision, you give yourself clarity and a realistic goal to strive towards. The goal has to be consistent without wavering but knowing when you reach that goal, you can choose to create a new vision or goal and continue to move forward.
This is a biggy! This is the ingredient you need to master because communication is how we are judged.
We demonstrate internal and external communication, verbal and non-verbal and it’s how we communicate that determines our outcomes.
One aspect of communication that many people overlook is the power of a simple word or gesture at the right time. Sometimes the most powerful and influential communication techniques involve saying nothing.
There are two perspectives when it comes to expectations – your expectations and the expectations others put on you. When it comes to success you must set your expectations in a way that motivates you, rather than limit your potential and the expectations others put on you must be considered by you and you have a choice whether to take on that expectation by understanding your strengths and ability to adapt.
Unrealistic expectations put on self or by others can be found in another recipe called “The recipe For Failure”
When you live a life that are in line with your values, life can feel great but when you live a life outside your values, life can suck!
For example, my three values are accountability, balance and calm, meaning when I’m accountable, balanced and calm, I’m enjoying life but when i’m unable to be accountable, imbalanced and anxious, life for me becomes a struggle.
To figure out what your key three values are, create a list of ten then whittle them down to three and feel the difference when you get clarity.
When you hear the expression, be true to yourself, it’s your values you need to connect with that allow you to be true to yourself.
As you navigate life, you begin to form beliefs about how the world works and how you fit in and communicate with the world and people around you.
When it comes to sports, it’s usually your coaches and team mates that mould your beliefs.
But there’s something you need to know.
A belief is formed from a situation that happened some time ago. To work towards your success, you must challenge your beliefs to see if they’re still relevant to your new situations.
If you feel there’s something holding you back, it’s usually because you have a limiting or mistaken belief that’s influencing your behaviours.
Is it right to hold onto a belief you formed years ago, even if your new situation demands a new belief?
We are social creatures by nature and forming relationships is part of our DNA and help us integrate into communities.
But successful relationships need work and communication forms a big part of whether relationships fail or succeed.
Imagine you’re not playing and not enjoying your sport. You feel confused and unsure and this leaves you wanting something to change but you don’t know how, but at the same time the other person, the manager, has no idea how you’re feeling or what you’re thinking.
They get a feeling there’s something not quite right because your performance has dipped but rather than approach the issue, both of you accept this is how the relationship is. You both accept your position in the relationship and do nothing to improve it.
To succeed, relationships have to have a certain level of honesty, integrity and respect built on a common goal or vision.
What You Can Do Right Now
If there is a sense of something not being right or there seems to be a struggle for you, I’d suggest you consider each one of these ingredients and figure out which part of your life needs attention.
If you’re succeeding, you’ll know there is an alignment with all the ingredients and you’ll be enjoying your sporting career and life.
If you want to know more about this recipe or how you can build the recipe into your club or team, get in touch and let’s communicate.
“Life is a competition not with others, but with ourselves. We should seek each day to live stronger, better, truer lives; each day to master some weakness of yesterday; each day to repair a mistake; each day to surpass ourselves.”
David B. Haight
Knowledge Is Power
They say knowledge is power and they would be right because without knowledge, how do you compare, contrast and reflect on your journey and I’d like to be frank with you.
If you’re not winning, if you’re not number one, then why are you competing?
It’s not a trick question but a question that puts the power in your hands because when you fully understand why you’re competing as a professional athlete, you can really focus on achieving your goals and let go of some unrealistic expectations others may be putting on you.
Not every professional athlete will make it to number one in the world because to reach the pinnacle takes a dedication that requires sacrifice, some luck, some thinking outside the box, the physical and technical prowess and a mindset so determined, nothing gets in the way.
You’re Not Number One!
So let’s assume you aren’t striving to be number one but you are striving for something else; something that drives you enough to continue to invest your time and effort into making a career out of being a professional athlete.
So let’s explore what this question means to you
WHY AM I COMPETING IF NOT TO BE NUMBER ONE?
Motivation comes in different shapes and sizes and I want you to focus on you. Your needs, your desires without comparing yourself to anyone else.
This is your journey, this is your life and this is your choice. It’s perfectly OK not to strive to be number one, but I feel there is an unwritten rule that if you’re an athlete you have to say you are striving to be number one because anything else can be seemed a failure and this expectation can weigh heavily on the shoulders of many, so let’s attempt to remove that burden now.
It’s OK not to want to strive to be number one, but it is ok to be the best you can be.
Let’s look at a few reasons for you to compete:-
Why Do You Compete?
You can’t think of anything worse than having an office job
You’ve spent all your youth playing and competing and that’s all you know
You want to be earning a lot of money
You want the fame
You want the big house
You want to be able to provide financial stability for you and your family
You have a bigger vision of what your role as an athlete can provide to the wider audience and those less fortunate than you
You want to prove someone wrong
You want to prove someone right
You want to be famous
When you compete you feel alive and able to express yourself
You fell into becoming a professional athlete and liked it…
As you can see there are many reasons for you to compete and this list isn’t a comprehensive list by any means but it gives you an idea of why you compete and for what purpose.
The Power Of Knowing Why You Compete
Now you have an idea of why you compete, you can begin to focus your time and dedication towards that goal with gusto and passion really driving your performance forward with purpose and dedication.
That powerful understanding frees you from the expectations others place on you, the media, the fans, some who say they have your best interest at heart and perhaps now is the perfect time to let others know why you are competing, so they and you are on the same page and both are striving towards the same thing.
For example, an agent may want you to go for the deal that pays the most money, yet you may have another opportunity in mind where you can feel settled and respected as a player that may not be the deal that pays the most money. By having a conversation about what drives you forward, you will find a deal that’s right for you.
Being in control of your destiny, to some degree, can be great for your mental health and life off the field of play and knowing why you compete creates a solid foundation on which you can build something unique and special for you.
Why I Compete
In my quest to be the most sought after mental performance coach, I’ve had to make some sacrifices and bold moves and come to some realisations about marketing and promotions that I’m working on and come to realise that becoming the most sought after coach, is a personal achievement to me, without comparing myself to other coaches out there.
There are three things I strive to achieve:-
Do what I enjoy doing
Be financially, spiritually, mentally and emotionally rewarded for what I enjoy doing
I work best in one to one situations because I really get to connect with my clients and understand their perspectives, how they perceive reality and understand the shifts in mindset needed to help them get to where they want to be.
My clients benefit from one to one as it gives them a sense of comfort and acknowledgement that they are at the centre of everything we do and that in itself, frees up the mind in such powerful ways that the new knowledge they are introduced to can be absorbed quickly.
This new knowledge is the power they are seeking.
Are you a professional athlete wanting things to change?