Photo by Sam Balye on Unsplash

By Fredi Baker

The world has been settling into a new normal during the pandemic that most of us could never have imagined just a few months ago. Many of us are sitting on the sidelines, watching and cheering on the heroes providing for everyone’s essential needs. But even if we’ve been staying at home and following the protocols of social distancing, sheltering at home, etc. we are still helping in our own way. While it can be discouraging and disheartening at times, keeping in mind the big picture of a healthier world can make a huge difference right now. As it is, some people are weathering the storm more successfully than others.

For some reason, I’m reminded of the elite athletes in training for a major sports event, like a marathon or even the Olympics. They’re in in it for the long haul. What makes these athletes unstoppable in the face of setbacks, hurdles, fear, injuries, discouragement, and disappointment, I wonder? How can changing our mindset help us not only survive, but thrive going forward?

Recently, I’ve been looking at things through the filter of a world-class athlete, even though I can only imagine what that would be like. I’ve watched runners year after year participate in the California International Marathon; my house was right at the 22-mile marker. Their determination and grit has always fascinated and inspired me. Closer to me, one of my knitting friends is a runner training for the Olympics right now, and the grace and perseverance she shows every day is truly remarkable. She has faced injury and recovery, and now she and all the other Olympic athletes have to come to grips with the 2020 Olympics becoming the 2021 Olympics. And yet, she remains committed to her goals.

I can only imagine what it would take for a world-class athlete to meet their long-term goals, no matter how big an obstacle is in their path. What characteristics, values, and principles help them keep their eye on the prize? Perhaps their strategies aren’t so different from ours. They still:

  • play the game, even when the rules change
  • commit to a big, long-term goal
  • create and follow strategies — and get support — to deal with setbacks both large and small
  • take care of their bodies, minds, and spirits
  • stay connected to loved ones, even at a distance
  • stay positive in the face of adversity
  • are in it to win it
  • are patient
  • are unstoppable

Imagine how things could be different if we adopted the mindset of an elite athlete — how we could go beyond surviving and into thriving, no matter what’s going on in the world. Since June is usually a time of people coming together to celebrate graduations, weddings, the end of the school year, etc., there are plenty of opportunities for us to shift our thinking. Acknowledge that this year is different. Globally we have changed, and are finding new, perhaps untraditional ways to mark these occasions. 

The question is, how are we showing up every day? Are we patient, kind, compassionate, and positive? Like the elite athletes, you have a great opportunity to make a difference toward your goals, both personal and global, and so do I. Now is the time to dig down and find resilience, grit, perseverance, and compassion. We’re running our own races all the time; now more than ever, let’s help each other stay on track.

Fredi Baker

BIO:

Fredi Baker is a Master Certified Coach who believes in the power of the creative process. For over 20 years, she’s coached people who are ready to break out of where they are and lean into their dreams, their vision and their creativity. She helps them get inspired, focused and motivated to live by their own rules and make a difference in the world. In her spare time, you will find her playing with yarn and needles, whether it’s knitting colorful, chunky wall hangings or designing  (and knitting) shawls. Thus far, 5 of her patterns have been published, and she delights in seeing other knitters working with her designs and making their own works of art.

Find her at fredibaker.com 

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