It’s the end of August in 2022 and I’m watching the US Open, the pressure packed matches of the semi–finals and finals. The matches that go on and on for five sets and then wind up in a tie breaker.
At the end of such a match both players are completely exhausted. The loser barely has enough energy to pack his or her rackets and get off the court. The winner is in similar shape and yet somehow manages to be interviewed and make sense of what just happened.
The challenge for both players is to debrief the results. They must learn from their efforts, capture the good, experience and release the not so good and make good decisions on how to improve their performance in the future.
At the end of one such match, I decided to write about the metaphor of “Move Forward” and the process that would allow you to get maximum value from the challenges you face.
Move Forward vs. Move On
I use this magnificent sunset as a metaphor for moving forward. Although the sun appears to be moving, it is we who are moving as the earth rotates on its axis. Even in the face of drama, the dark clouds and pending storm, we move forward and accept what is.
Photo of Tide Pools on the North Shore by Bernie Baker
Move Forward, Move On. Both experiences are defined in terms of dealing with a challenge. To move forward is to want to be present, to embrace the challenge and battle with the competition and/or distractions and win. Even when you don’t want to. But your mind has convinced your brain that moving forward is the best option.
To move on is to set something aside, leave it behind or take a break from the action, to avoid the challenge or to perform without a purpose. Even when you don’t want to. But your mind has again convinced your brain that taking a time out is the best option. This article is for you if you want to get maximum value from your efforts to Move Forward with the GED Process.
In competitive tennis, players sometimes find themselves down by one set and a break (giving the opposing player the advantage) in a best of three-set format…and, then come roaring back to win. How does that happen? The player has clearly established “clarity of purpose!” They breathe, focus on seeing themselves respond to this challenge and move forward. And it works!
Gratitude: The awareness that comes from learning to be grateful for the opportunity to be present and prepare for the expectations of this specific challenge (what’s expected of you and by you).
- To breathe…and settle down and go deep and decide on what you want to have happen.
- To build confidence in your ability to prepare and focus on being up for this challenge.
- To establish the clarity of purpose, to see yourself moving forward in the best possible way.
Reflection: Gratitude is the feeling of appreciation that allows you to overcome boredom, resistance, fear, anger and move forward with ease and grace. It is the affirmation that “Yes, I can” perform with confidence!
In endurance competitions, we see players that make the really hard work look easy. How does this happen? These athletes have mastered the process of “completing each rep!” The breathing, tempo and passion produce the feelings of flow that allows them to transcend the discomfort and pain, enjoy the moment and move forward.
Excitement: Your acceptance of the work that is required to be able to express your passion in your performance. To call forth the feelings and sensations that allow you to execute the skills with proper form, intensity and tempo in practice and competitions.
- To Breathe and settle down, prepare, execute and complete the skills and techniques that make the difference in your ability to get the job done.
- To establish the fitness: strength, endurance, and balance needed to work hard, make it fun and be competitive.
- To combine the preparation and execution of the important movements that allow you to express the passion and feel the intensity in moving forward and completing each rep
Reflection: Excitement is the feeling of appreciation that allows you to move forward in the face of a challenge. It is the affirmation that “Yes, I am able” to get up and stay up and get the job done!
In all forms of performance, we see people that are able to reach amazing levels of expertise and success. How does this happen? These people have learned to trust their ability to accept and/or process both negative and positive feedback and use their mental strength to make good decisions to move forward and get better. It’s like the surfer that suffered a serious wipe–out. He took off late, the bottom fell out of the wave and the surfer hit his head on the coral causing a serious concussion.
The surfer went through a six-month long concussion protocol that included rest, breathing exercises, mental training, physical exercise to rehab his balance, strength training, and aerobic conditioning. After the six months out of the water, he started to surf again. Small little waves at first, with a mixture of aerobic and strength building exercise. In six more months, the surfer was in the best shape of his life, regained his confidence and paddled back out on the biggest day last winter and re-claimed his position in the line up. When asked how he did it the surfer responded. “I made the process fun and took pride in my ability to get back in the line-up, even on the biggest days.”
The capacity to establish a lens that allows you to see and seize the opportunities to learn and grow from your efforts. To debrief your performance on a regular basis:
- To Breathe and practice breath-holds on a daily basis to increase your endurance, self-control and overall discipline.
- To identify the important components of your performance: You must go deep into the debrief of your efforts and accept the feedback from people you respect; coaches, family and friends to identify the distractions that get in the way of your ability to get the job done when it counts the most.
- To combine the the learning from your preparation, execution and completion into your efforts to move forward and express the trust and mental strength of your conviction.
Reflection: Devotion is the feeling of appreciation that allows you to move forward as you learn from your experience. It is the affirmation that says, “Yes, I will” complete the process!
“From reading this document, I realize the importance of taking the time to breathe and reflect on all of my experiences, to be grateful and feel appreciation. I always forget that when something good or bad happens I need to understand how to move forward and turn the experience into a positive learning experience no matter what. For example, the bulk of my studies involve working together in teams. In the past, when teammates would not do their share of the work, it would upset me and ruin the experience. Now when it happens, I use the experience to express my emotions and practice communicating in a way that builds team. I always want to move forward and make growth and getting better a priority!”
University of Nevada Graduate School
Former Division 1 Golf Scholarship Athlete