Too often, in the pursuit of high-performance, we can lose sight of some very important and yet simple pleasures. We get so hung-up on achieving the goals that we’ve laid out in front of us; we forget to take time to appreciate the opportune lives we lead.
It’s been a rough week; I won’t lie. Our thirteen-year-old lab-cross began coughing and struggling to breath about ten days ago. We took her to our Vet who thought she might have a bacterial infection. Anti-biotics were prescribed, and so began an extremely exhausting process in search of what was ailing our beloved Katie.
WHERE TO BEGIN:
Sometimes it’s not enough just knowing that it’s important to stop once-in-a-while amidst the busyness of our days and take stock of how privileged we are. Sometimes, instead, we need life to give us a good shake.
Granted, thirteen-years-of-age is pretty good—especially for a lab these days. But, we’re told our Katie is an outlier. Days before her symptoms appeared, she was devouring ninety-minute hikes, chasing sticks in the lake and behaving like the healthy, vibrant and energetic pup we had grown used to.
Admittedly, given her unusually active lifestyle, I was truly unappreciative of her age. However, the day she fell ill was the day that changed. I began to see our Katie as the older dog that she had grown into; the one I had never really noticed.
As high-performers, we are often described as driven individuals—hell-bent on achieving outcomes that inform us as to whether or not our chosen strategies are working. It’s not a bad thing. In many ways, it’s the nature of the beast. Having the discipline to put your head down and push through heavy workloads can be a huge asset.
Recently, however, I was introduced to a form of self-care I’ve always understood on an intellectual level, but perhaps had never fully embraced. It was at a workshop where the idea of “pause” was presented in such a way that it registered differently this time.
True, it’s important for athletes and coaches to schedule time to rest and recover from prescribed training regimens. Without rest, our bodies are challenged to get stronger—I think we all know that. Regardless, how many of us use that resting time to reflect as well? I know I don’t often enough.
Making time to pause, do absolutely nothing and reflect on our lives is as important as the time we schedule for the physical and mental tasks we consider critical to achieving our goals.
Bringing Katie home from the hospital last night, I can tell you I look at her differently now. Having her energetic company on my hikes is no longer a given. I’ve realized that a day will come when her sweet brown eyes won’t look back at me—some day she’ll be gone. But, now, I feel more aware of the gift that she is and always has been.
Her prognosis going forward isn’t great. She could last a week, a month—maybe a few. How long she lives isn’t the point here. The fact that I no longer take for granted the significance of what she brings to our family is the point.
As coaches and athletes, while we drive ourselves to realize our highest potential, it’s crucial that we take time to stop, pause and notice the many gifts that are alive within us and around us. Doing so not only supports our goals, but it also stirs a greater sense of appreciation and gratitude for the life we’re leading. When we do that, it’s like someone turns up the colour on our television. We begin to notice parts of our day that we may not have otherwise.
Achieving our life’s dreams and goals is important—I won’t argue that. However, to have the misfortune of never reaching one’s goals is one thing; to never appreciate the individuals who supported us and cheered for us along the way is something quite another.
Photo credit: Jason Dorland
Jason Dorland is a High-Perfomance Coach who believes the most undervalued and underutilized components of reaching our goals are the mental and emotional areas of our lives. With your commitment, Jason can help you make a positive difference in how you approach your life’s dreams and goals. Guaranteed! To find out how—contact Jason today!