When the decision to be on a team comes along, make your best-ever reasoned choice. Be sure to breathe, settle down and consider all of the reasons to be on the team — or not.
Please consider two things.
Thing one: Being on a team that works can be the most enjoyable experience imaginable. Bill Bradley, the former professional basketball player and U.S. Senator, said it best, “When you’re on a team that works together even the road trips are fun!” Bradley’s point was that being a part of a team that plays together can feel really good.
Thing Two: Being on a team, good–better–best is great training for the next team if you are able to learn from the experience.
Outward vs. Inward Mindset
To “be” on a team you must have an Outward Mindset at all times and be crystal clear when you are operating from an Inward Mindset. In making this statement, I’m defining team in its purest sense. How you look at yourself and others is critical.
An Inward Mindset is one that sees people as objects — either vehicles that you use to get what you want, obstacles that get in the way, or irrelevancies that you simply ignore.
On the other hand, someone with an Outward Mindset sees others as people with needs, objectives, challenges and desires. When you take a genuine interest in others, you move away from being self–focused to being focused on the team’s goals and objectives. In short, the Outward Mindset is really about how you are with people.
The Outward Mindset and HiLevel
To be an effective team member you need to have:
- Gratitude – The awareness of what your expectations are for being on this team and what about being on this team makes you feel grateful?
- Excitement – The acceptance of what it takes to get the job done so the team can accomplish its goals. Do you have this level of energy?
- Devotion –The ability to balance the feelings related to what you accomplish in light of what was expected. Do you enjoy the process of being outward toward others and understanding what their needs are?
- Trust – Do you all support the process and believe in each other? Do they have your back and do you have theirs?
- Acceptance – Are you able to hold on to an image of your teammates performing at there very best, knowing that everyone is in it for the team and the right reasons?
- Communication – Do you all share positive feelings, encouragement and the necessary feedback to move the team forward and upward?
- Leadership – Does everyone have the ability to put team needs ahead of individual needsand help your team to move from an Inward Mindset to an Outward Mindset?
- Fire and Passion – The fire is the fast burning fuel that gets you up for a challenge. The passion is the slow burning fuel that keeps you coming back for more. This is the energy required to battle, to give your best effort and not get distracted by fatigue or any form of discomfort. In HiLevel language, this is what it means to Let it Fly!
Maintain the Outward Mindset
Photo by Steve Wilkings of Aka Hemings and Tommy Holmes at Avalanche, way outside of Haliewa, January 1, 1980.
They wiped out at the bottom of the swell.
Follow the rules: Show up rested. Trust the process. Find the beauty.
- Show up rested: Rest can provide the energy to be mentally and physically ready, to bring forth the skills, attitude and belief to handle any possible challenges.
- Trust the process: Trust is belief in your own ability to perform a specific task, to stay present and maintain a positive attitude — and when others are involved — to believe that they can and will perform at their best.
- Find the beauty: The ability to express gratitude for the opportunity to handle the challenge in front of you.
▪ Settle down: Breathe your way to the space that allows you to recognize the red flags that you are going Inward on your team.
Your goal is to let go and restore an Outward Mindset.
▪ Be aware: Breathe your way to the present moment, be mindful and focused on what you want to accomplish.
Your goal is to make good decisions.
▪ Prepare: Breathe your way to see and feel what you want to accomplish, and mentally rehearse it.
Your goal is to be alert and ready.
▪ Execute: Breathe your way to perform with poise, power and accuracy.
Your goal is to experience growth, joy, satisfaction and success.
The Value of Team
In today’s culture with so much emphasis on cell phones and the internet, people in general spend very little time talking to each other. As a result the real challenge for coaches, in all walks of life, is to teach people how to build relationships, to be in solution and to experience the power of flow.
Build Relationships: A team that wants to be competitive is forced to build working relationships based on trust and acceptance. The ability to talk to one another is needed for individuals to believe in each other and have confidence in their ability to get the job done. The more competitive the team wants to be, the stronger the bond of their relationships has to be.
Be in Solution: For a team to be successful, the players must be able to resolve issues and communicate effectively during the heat of competition. In a game or race between two competitive teams, the team that can be in solution -- “hit refresh,” make adjustments and recover their focus the fastest -- will always win.
Power of Flow: The ability of everyone on the team the to give their to best effort when it counts the most can lead to moments of the Flow. These are the moments when the effort and focus create a state where the energy that is exerted comes back in a feeling of extreme pleasure and overall well–being. In these moments, the team can perform at its absolute best and is drawn closer still by the confidence of accomplishment and pure joy of the experience.
Decide to Be Team and Battle: The decision to be on a team and to learn how to battle is a function of the Power of Appreciation: You want to do the work, you actively embrace the challenge(s) and you are grateful for the opportunity to compete and finish.
- The want to do the work is a function of your belief that you have the strength, determination and stamina to endure — no matter how painful it gets.
- The willingness to embrace the challenges of fatigue, thirst, heat, glare, pain, headwinds and whatever else the elements might bring your way. The task is to not be fearful of these elements but to accept that they are part of the experience. Getting anxious about a building headwind can drain your energy and cause you “false fatigue” and lose focus.
- Be grateful for the opportunity to compete at this level sends a powerful signal to the brain to enjoy the challenge. With this signal comes an ability to calm down and relax. This positive response can serve, as an antidote to anxiety or it can just be the fuel to get you pumped about-facing another challenge. Incorporating the emotion of gratitude into training and race-day strategy is a powerful performance enhancer. Exercises in which you practice feeling grateful should be part of your training ritual.