I love sports! I love competition and challenging my body. And when I work with new clients, within a few weeks or months, I’m often encouraging them to sign up for some kind of competition, sport or team.
Now before you say I’m not athletic, I hate sports, I don’t like competition, hear me out.
Why? Because sports, competing and challenging your body will teach you so much more about YOU, who YOU are and what YOU can do, than almost anything else out there.
How do I know? Because I’ve seen it happen time and time again. Whether you’re 15 or 45, training, practicing, and competing in sports will change you AND the way you see yourself.
The Way You See Your Body
So many of us see ourselves as the reflection that stares back at us from the mirror. We may see a tummy that is flabby, a bum that sags, breasts that are too big, or too small, a nose we’d like to correct, the list can go on and on. But we rarely see our REAL selves.
Sports, training for a sport or competition puts your body in a new light. Your body is now not just an object, but parts that are capable of doing SO MUCH! No longer are your legs fat, but they are now strong. Strong enough to run down an opponent or carry you through a 5 mile run. Where you once saw fat, you now see strength. You’re thankful for the body you have and what it can do. That doesn’t mean you may not want things to change, but that self loathing, self hate, is gone. And the fact that you’re exercising, practicing, training and competing, means you’re already doing something to change how it “looks” because you have seen how good your body can FEEL.
The Way You See Yourself
As you start to see your body in a new light, so too will you start to see yourself.
Its hard to not feel good about yourself when you run a bit farther than you thought you could or lift more weight than you had the weeks before. Its hard to be in a bad mood when you help your team score the winning goal or you cross the finish line to a race you’ve been training weeks to complete. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never seen photos of those moments where the person is frowning, crying or down on themselves.
You start to gain a confidence in yourself, in your abilities, that can’t be matched. “If I can accomplish this, then I can accomplish so much more too” are the thoughts that go through your head. Not only are you getting stronger and more fit physically, but mentally as well. As your confidence grows in the things your body can accomplish, so too does your confidence in your ability to accomplish ANYTHING you once thought challenging.
The Way You Choose to Live
You see a lot of different people under moments of intense stress when you’re on a team, doing a sport or competing. When people are under stress, you’ll see them at their best and at their worst. I’ve seen moments of incredible charity, humbling success and the biggest hearts while competing in road races and triathlons. I’ve also seen moments that would make you cry, embarrass you or shock you. In those moments, and watching how those people act, I’ve been able to choose how I will act.
Sports and being part of a team, is as much about WHAT you are doing, as it is WHO you are. Sports and competing have shown me that I love to cheer people on. I love helping others. I love celebrating others success, as much as my own. That helping others, helps me. That who I am on the field, is a reflection of who I really am off the field. Playing sports can give you an opportunity to see all different types. How do their actions, reactions, words make you feel? Would you choose the same? Is that how you want others to see you? Is that WHO you are? Sports and competing helped me to see the girl and the woman I want to be: giving, compassionate, competitive, fair, honest, happy, humble, proud, smart, stubborn, friendly.
The Way You View Failure
Sports, competing and challenging yourself isn’t always about winning. You won’t always come out on top. You won’t always beat your time. You won’t always progress forward. But here’s the thing….it doesn’t matter. Ok, it feels better when you do, but it doesn’t really matter.
Because life doesn’t work that way. Life isn’t always about winning or doing better, sometimes, you need to learn something from that experience. Sometimes your loss or your setback, makes you reconsider HOW you’re doing something.
After every competition, after every race, teams or individuals usually think about what they could do differently next time. That, seemingly simple thing, can pay off BIG in life. After you’ve had time to mourn the loss or setback, you’ll have the tools to re-evaluate how you got there and how things turned out as a result. Do you need more training to get that job? Do you need more sleep so you’re well rested to compete? What could make the difference next time? That’s what really makes the difference between a winner and a loser. A winner is always looking to be better and do better, even when faced with a setback or loss.
Thats why I love sports and competing. That is why I encourage my clients, when they’re ready, to try a race, sport or challenge. Its why my 3 daughters do gymnastics and swimming. There is so much more we learn about ourselves when we train and compete in a sport or event. And in that, EVERYONE is a winner.
So my challenge to you, sign up for a sport, an event, a race. It could be a 5K walk, the soccer team, a sprint triathlon, to complete a strengthening workout 3 days a week. The confidence, improved body image and outlook on life you’ll gain is priceless.
Now I want to hear from you, How have you been impacted by participating in a sport, team or competition in a positive way? Write your comments below.