I recently started a profile on LinkedIn. I hadn't done it earlier because I guess I didn't quite get it. You make all of these "connections," hoping for--what? It's not like Facebook where these people are your friends and you post pictures of your adorable kid's latest exploits or your vacation to the Grand Canyon. It's really more of an online resume crossed with an opportunity to proudly display work accomplishments and subtly put feelers out for future employment opportunities. It's our "other" persona, beyond family life. It's that identity that most of us use to define ourselves. Go to any Happy Hour and you will hear over and over, "So what do you do?" Who we are and what we do are often one and the same in our minds.
I was hesitant for a long time to put myself out there on LinkedIn. Probably because before Personal Best Sports, I couldn't really define who I was--at least not through a particular profession. But now, I'm in. And it's actually been fun and exciting. Who accepted my invitation today? My network grows, people all over the world view my profile and find me interesting or worthy of potential assistance enough to "Accept."
It got me thinking about the power of connection. And it is a powerful thing. Humans are social creatures. We thrive with company. We like to interact and share. We are boosted when we receive praise, as well as when we give it.
Sports enables us to have connections. We are fans who celebrate together the thrill of victory, or join in suffering the agony of defeat. We are teammates who share the struggles of vigorous practice drills and swell with pride holding the trophies. It's all better when we do it together.
For any endeavor to be successful, a key component is connection. Take starting a fitness or diet program, for example. Numerous studies have shown the people who enjoy the most success have someone to work out with, or to be accountable to. Knowing someone is counting on us makes us more determined to continue. "Going public" by sharing our goals with someone almost guarantees adherence to the plan.
Connections can also breed healthy competition. LinkedIn is a constant reminder of what great accomplishments my network has achieved. It makes me determined to keep up my end of the bargain. I will not let my network down. I will let them know I am contributing to our collective strength as well. Strength in numbers, right? Silly? Maybe, but think about it. Have you ever felt any motivation to produce for others? Colleagues, bosses, teammates, coaches? Where did that come from? Your singular desire to do your best? Or maybe in some small way you wanted to prove something to others?
So what is my take-home message? First, consider your personal "profile." Who are you now? What are your skills, abilities, accomplishments? Go beyond work. Get personal. Raised three healthy kids? Organized a family reunion? Built a tree house? Lost 50 pounds? Who helped you get there? Can you pay it forward somehow? Where do you want to be? What do you want to be able to add to your profile in the future?
Second, get linked in. Not capital "L" linked, necessarily. Just make connections that can help you achieve the goals you desire. Connections can be professionals who would be a source of information or assistance for you. Family or friends with whom you share your goals and who keep you accountable. Or friends, colleagues, teammates, who are willing to actually get in the trenches with you.
Anything you put your mind to is possible. Remember that. And more minds can make the journey to possible that much easier. Invite connection. Accept invitations to connect. You'll be amazed by what you can accomplish.
Finally the website is live! I hope you find it useful and even inspiring. Personal Best Sports is the culmination of many years of education and "unofficial" sport psychology consultation. When I decided to go "official," I mulled over names for the business. Similar businesses I found included "mental or competitive edge," "elite," or "winning" in their names. To me, these words all seemed to invoke competing at the highest level, surpassing all others, winning as the ultimate outcome. My contention, however, is that our greatest competition is actually ourselves. Being able to achieve a personal best performance, constantly improving, staying motivated, setting and achieving goals, and most of all believing in one's self and abilities, is more valuable in the long run in both athletics and life. It is through striving to achieve our personal best performance that we develop mental strength. A happy by-product of this just might be winning, beating the competition or having an "edge" over the others in one's chosen activity. But that is not the main focus. In my practice with athletes I am a resource, a guide, a catalyst. Through discussions, careful analysis and observation, and implementation of a personalized plan of action, I enable the athlete to improve focus, take ownership of their skills and abilities, and find ways to mentally prepare for athletic activity. By applying what I teach, athletes can be in control and well on their way to one of many "personal best" performances.
The Personal Best Sports logo depicts an athlete breaking through barriers to reach for the stars. The stars are goals, and the barriers represent conflicting attitudes, beliefs, negativity. There are three stars to represent mind, body and spirit. All of these are intertwined and play important roles, whether in athletic development, injury rehabilitation, or ultimate performance.
I hope you will take the time to read the articles I post in each of the specific areas of interest--coaches, athletes and parents. I hope you can gain insight that will help you in your endeavors. And if you are interested in delving further and would like to meet with me for consultations, I am here for you. Welcome, and enjoy!
"Even if you are on the right track, you will get run over if you just sit there."
Personal Best Sports
The sports world is filled with stories of perseverance, failure and success, personal struggles and public triumph. Each story provides insight into the mental side of sport and activity.