Summer is over and fall is here. Our sleeves get longer as the days get shorter, but what about the transitions we’re not ready for like a new job, a new team, or a new school? How can we make a positive impact despite our fear of failure?
About 9 months ago I retired from the only sport/lifestyle I’ve ever known, Short Track Speedskating. For decades I planned my days around workouts, personal bests, and the never-ending pursuit of perfection. This passion and persistence pushed me towards great things, but what now? Enter, a really tough transition!
This week I’m taking a look back at some of the strategies that helped me succeed through my toughest transitions as an athlete. I’ll be taking my own advice to heart and hoping that these examples will resonate with and help you too!
The 85% Rule
Just like a changing pace or strategy in the middle of a race, change in life tends to speed up our thoughts. Sometimes operating at 100% is necessary, but if we stay there too long we start making mistakes. Mistakes lead to annoyance, stress, frustration, and eventually, burn-out.
Instead, try operating at 85% of your top speed. 85% is enough to be effective while also maintaining awareness of how to avoid mistakes and/or respond to them properly. At 85% you can easily speed up when it’s time to work and slow down when it’s time to relax. Who doesn’t need more of that?!
Control the Controllable
A natural reaction to change is to get back in control by planning for every variable. However, it’s not possible to control every variable very often. The stress and anxiety become even worse when the wheels fall off of our well calculated plan.
Instead, ask yourself, ‘what are the things I can control today?’ ‘What are the things I can influence?’ ‘What are the things that I cannot control?” Prioritize your time, energy, and resources on what you can control or influence. Let the rest go.
A tough transition can feel like you’re in over your head. In this state of sink or swim our judgement is clouded. Our response to emotional triggers often leaves us responding in ways that don’t align with our core values.
Instead, start your day by journaling the answer to this question: ‘How can I build and create the best environment possible while also serving others?’ Whether you’re in over your head or not, the response to this question will leave you feeling better.