Phew…that was a heavy few days last week and a tough time for our community, but from the feedback I have received, I am glad we all seem to be learning something from it. I have been kind of down about it the past few days though, so decided it's time for me to write something positive today! Luckily, I received a great question over email from one of my close friends, Alex Smith, who played with me on the Outlaws and coaches at Colorado State University. His question was, "What is your definition of success, whether it be in your coaching, personal or other walk of life?". Everyone's definition of success is something deeply personal. I believe everyone has to find out for themselves what that means to them, so while we can learn from others, there is no one correct answer to this question.
With that being said, my definition of success is to feel peace, love and joy while I am here walking in this world. I actually have a tattoo (apologies to my mother and people who think tattoos make me a bad person…heh!) of Japanese kanji lettering of those three words going down my left rib cage. I put them there so every morning when I wake up, I see the reminder of what I want in my life more than anything.
My definition of success works
into my philosophy of coaching and of athletics because this type of
success comes from internal growth and personal development, as we
discuss on this blog all the time. I do not believe that I
can achieve feeling piece, joy and love by "getting" something from the
outside world. I do not feel that a new car, nor a big house, nor a
high paying job will make me feel these things. Rather, who I am as a
person, how I interact and share with the world and what I do to
personally develop, largely contributes to me gaining this type of
success. What is interesting to me, is that the more I feel this way,
the more my external world reflects this success - the more and better
friendships and relationships I have, the smoother my life goes, the
more positive experiences that I am granted with and the more peace, joy
and love that I feel.
How does this fit into this lacrosse site instead of some psychology magazine or self-help book? (I know how weird some people must think I am in our little sports world…it makes me laugh on the inside though! I am who I am...) What this all means in athletics, is that our definition of success in athletics is also misguided, when our first priority is to win games. If instead, we focus on developing our teams, our players, ourselves internally, then I believe the external success will come without us even worrying about it. So, we concentrate on being the best players and coaches we can be, both on and off the field, and the myriad of lessons and teachings that are entailed with that, and the wins will come. We will then feel true success! However, when we only concentrate on winning and doing whatever it takes to get that "W", then our feeling of success is very fleeting, as you are only as good as your last game.
So, today's message is short and sweet. If we focus on developing ourselves to be the best we can be, both on and off the field, then the success will come. If we concentrate on wins, rankings, awards, applause and external goals, then the success might come, but it will be short-lived and shallow. We will be left only wanting more. So, when striving for success, we might as well work for something that is deep and lasting. But, I can't tell anyone else what that should be for them personally as everyone must search and decide for themselves. So, each of us must define what success really means to us (not from what we have learned from everyone else) and then do what it takes to make that happen. This allows us to compete in athletics and have a life with true purpose.