“Stop worrying about your greatness in the future. Just strive to be great today.” -Jon Gordon, Training Camp
I. Love. This. Quote.
(I love a lot of quotes just a heads up.)
My coach actually texted me this when I was first released to play after my first injury over the summer and today it popped in my head just at the time I needed to hear it.
At the time when I first heard this, we had just had a few practices to prepare for Italy in which I could fully participate. I’d get so frustrated at times because my body wouldn’t move like I wanted it to. There were times I felt out of place- trying to regain my feel. Recovery was hard- but for me, coming back on the floor was even harder. (And I’ll tell you right now- it shouldn’t be. I got that now as I sit here again unable to play the game I love. But I am for sure enjoying a nice slice of humble pie during this time so that’s positive!)
Anyway, frustration is a normal feeling, but I’ve learned you can’t get so frustrated to the point where your emotions take over and are hindering your growth and muddying your mentality.
As with everything- there’s a balance.
You can use minor disappointments as fuel work harder and get better, but they key is to realize that these day to day ‘defeats’ are just that- minor. No need to be crazy if you aren’t satisfied. Most athletes won’t ever be satisfied- we’re competitive. I’m competitive and I want to play to my potential. That’s not a crime by any means- but it’s a process. And as the cliche explains- you have to put in the work and trust it.
As you continue to dream and go through the process, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the vision you have of the future if you aren’t grounded in the present.
This past summer, I wanted to be as great as I knew I was going to be once I got my legs under me and shook out the cobwebs out a bit. That wasn’t the problem. The problem was I wanted it right in that moment.
That’s just not realistic, and if you don’t keep it in check that thought process will do you more harm than good. You can’t get better at anything in a “who-I-am-and-what-I’m-doing-right-now-isn’t-good-enough” mentality. Thoughts evoke feelings which result in action. If your thoughts are in a negative space it’s literally impossible for you to have a positive outcome. (Shoutout to my Theories of Personality professor for that little insight. It’s a game changer.)
So applying all that fun stuff to now…
I am super early in my recovery but because of my prior experiences- my mind can be a little ahead of the game. (Get it… a-head… mind… done making jokes now.)
But seriously. The other day I got all worked up because we’re about to start post season workouts. Obviously I won’t be doing what I planned to do during this time which lead me to worry about what my basketball abilities will be like come season considering I don’t have this time to improve them how I envisioned.
And I’ll just go ahead and fill you know now- when you’re injured something that goes through your mind is: “Am I ever going to be better than I am right now?” I’m sitting here thinking about next season and I’m stoked obviously. I love my team, my coaches, and of course the game itself. But like- I’m coming off a 3rd knee surgery in less than 2 years… what if I can’t perform? What if I can’t move as well? What if I’m so behind the rest of my team and never catch up? What if I can’t get over my injury and let it control how I play all season?
That’s how fast the mind can spiral.
When that happens, as stupid as it may sound, I literally have to tell myself you need to chill and I force myself to just take breath and get a grip. And to be honest, that’s not a skill I was born with- I’ve had to practice… Self-talk is important, folks.
“Just strive to be great today.”
I don’t have to be ready to play a game right now. I don’t have to be in shape, I don’t have to be quick on my feet, shoot- I don’t even have to walk without crutches in this moment. It’s simply just not the time. It’ll come no doubt and there will be a time I ‘have’ (I’d rather say ‘get’) to do those things. Until then however, the only thing I need to do is make the most of today.
And right now, making the most of today means bending my knee to 90 degrees, (I’m close!) do a little ball handling, and as much as I’d rather not- I should probably get some homework done. Ya know… ‘student-athlete’.
That’s what it takes. You put one foot in front of the other and make sure you are at your best every step of the way.
You of course have your vision- but don’t stress about it. That’s not what it’s there for. Not to go all The Secret on you guys, but you put what you wanted ‘in the universe’ a long time ago. Let it come and take care of what you need to each day to make it a reality.
And quite honestly, a little bit faith that things are going to work out goes a long way.
The process of returning from an injury is a lot better when you break it down day by day. Same thing for winning a championship. We didn’t set out to be a ranked team. We didn’t go out every day saying that we were going to win the MVC and go to the NCAA tournament. We didn’t set out to be the first team in conference history to go undefeated. All of that just came with the vision we had/have of our program. We simply focussed on bringing our best every day and having fun while we were doing it. That’s not always an easy thing to do- sometimes life happens and some days you just don’t feel like a million bucks. That’s okay.
However, you still have a choice. A choice to be great, in whatever way you can, in every ‘today’ that you have.
That’s all you can do.
The rest will take care of itself.