Author’s note: This post is ever so late in coming - something I have felt a lot of guilt about. And yet it’s another opportunity for me to take my own advice: just pick up the practice again and leave the guilt behind. We all fall off the wagon, the diet, the workout program ... but guilt is wasted energy towards something in the past that can’t be changed. Just choose again - in this moment - to do again. It’s all progress!
I was lying in bed mid-week of my national specialty following another long, adrenaline filled day and I realized that while I had snagged a qualifying ribbon, I had failed my teammate. I had done so many of the things I caution others not to do and I was instantly mad at myself.
First, I realized that while I had come into the week with process goals (stay grounded and connected to my Indie-girl; protect my rituals), I quickly ditched them in favor of outcome goals. Ugh! Why?! I had wanted to feel grounded like the major roots of an old oak tree holding me firmly to the ground. Instead I felt like a moth, flittering and reacting to the next source of light. Grrrrrr.
I also realized I hadn’t stayed true to my rituals. No long walks in the mornings, no sitting by myself watching and learning, no Teavana tea, and certainly no salad!
So what happened? I got caught up. Caught up in all that is wonderful about our national specialty: seeing friends I haven’t seen in a year; going to evening events; laughing and drinking at the bar; shopping ... And the truth is, I WANTED to do all of those things! I am always genuinely excited to see and spend time with so many amazing people - it’s a big part of why I enjoy the week! But I know it hurt my focus, which in turn had me feeling like a moth!
There was a time when I considered this state, “not being intense enough” or “being too casual.” Yes, I could make an argument that spending more time chatting than focusing seemed “casual,” but I now know it’s less about finding my perfect zone between “casual” and “intense” and more about staying in the present moment, connected to my dog. The problem was not that I was having too much fun, the problem was I had abandoned my need to stay grounded and present.
When we abandon our process goals and get distracted or thrown off track - for any number of reasons - we have no choice but to latch onto an outcome goal because in that split second, it feesl more tangible, more definable.
I had this realization following the third day of competition. Whoops! But with one more day to go I could still join my own party and be a better handler to my dog and be less about me and more about us. I could choose again.
We can always choose again - at the beginning of a week or the middle of a run. We can delete the post, not write the email, take a deep breath and reconnect. We need only to recognize what we are doing and desire to change. And then we make a different choice.