Let go to take control
This past weekend the US Greco team headed back to Frisco, Texas for the Olympic qualification tournament. This leg of the qualification process was the second part, back in September the top 5 athletes qualified their weight class for their nation.
Here at the Pan-Am qualifier, like every other continental qualifier the top 2 athletes in each weight category qualified their nation. This was a great place to get done what we needed to do and right in our back yard.
Three of the four weights did not get qualified. Now we have to go to open qualifier. There are five more total spots available for the Olympics and two tournaments to get this done. The first being in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia over 6,000 miles away. Now, we have to do this the hard way just two weeks after the US Olympic trials.
The team was not out matched; we just did not compete to our team’s abilities. We competed scared and frightened to lose. Why? We were not qualified and had nothing to lose? All we had to do was go out there and do our best and compete hard. The only thing that is expected is we fight and compete to the best of our abilities, instead we wrestled with fear and the fear paralyzed us.
We spoke about what was at stake in this tournament and we knew that getting to the finals meant qualifying the weight for the RIO Games. I told my team to forget everything that was at stake and go out and do what you love to do, compete.
Adding pressure to the situation does not make athletes compete better. Athletes compete best when they let go of the need for control surrendering to the love of the sport and the competition.
Competence and perseverance are such admirable qualities for so many aspects of our lives from relationships to goal setting. We pride ourselves with abilities to pick our mark, aim and hitting the target dead center. We put the work and time in and when the opportunity presents itself we need to learn to surrender and trust in our gifts and abilities that God has given us. Trust the universe or whatever you believe, but just LET GO AND TRUST.
We move through our lives with accuracy, diligence and compassion, yet even our best intentions and carefully laid plans can bring us stress, anxiety and even depression when our plans fall to shit.
Right now take a moment to think about plans you have laid out that didn’t work out the way you envisioned. Recently the US Greco team had planned on qualifying the four remaining weight classes for the Rio Games this summer last weekend in Frisco Texas. I am sure you have experienced something similar.
You probably have made plans before and also have had a back up plan in case things didn’t work out. You may even have a worst-case scenario plan if everything goes to shit. This is a good thing and it is a very stoic philosophy.
Thinking strategically and planning is great. This helps reduce anxiety that typically results in excellent outcomes. What this way of thinking doesn’t teach you is that you cannot control the universe; even if you are a considerate compassionate person you can only control one thing. That one thing you can control is you. So many times when coaching my athletes, I speak only about what the athlete needs to do that he can control, for example, move your feet, make first contact, create angles, level change and so on. I am talking to athletes about what they can control and not worrying about the things they CAN NOT control like the calls of the official or their opponent.
Soon as we realize what we can and cannot control we come to peace, this is a peace that is impossible to disrupt. In the entire universe throughout all the galaxies that exist there is only one thing you can control. That one thing is a magnificent loving being that is you. You cannot control the weather, or another person’s actions or anything else.
You are totally unique with experiences, memories, passions and dreams that nobody else has. You have infinite choices in every moment, what to do, how to react and when to do it, and yet these are your choices and the only things you can control. If this realization feels crazy embrace it, if it feels freeing then welcome it.
Something greater than you exists whether you believe it is God or something else, there is something and it is bigger than you. However you understand it know something or someone created the world and that someone keeps our world spinning. Whether you call it God, love, the universe or something else know it is caring for you in every way.
Whatever has caused this shift in your life? If you are one of the athletes that didn’t get the results he wanted or you may have recently lost a job or maybe even a loved one, whatever it is that shook you know that you are safe. Trust that God is looking out for you even in your darkest time, nurturing you into an even more beautiful being?
We cannot trust without loosening our hold on control. We cling to beliefs, habits and people that feel safe. It’s like holding onto rotting logs instead of letting go and allowing the benevolent waters of life carry you to a world more beautiful than you could ever imagine. If we want to move forward in life, learn from your experiences and grow. We must release the need to control everything; this is both frightening and freeing.
Surrender is something none of us like to do especially combat athletes. Surrender is considered weak and we can’t be weak, we are wrestlers, fighters and men that should be feared. Surrender, what is that?!
Surrendering control is not weak it allows ourselves to float into the paradise that God wants to share with us? Breathe in peace and let go of control.
We grasp at things we want and understanding what we want helps us move toward our goal. Although sometimes no matter what happens things do not go our way. You may dream of winning the gold at the Olympics, but some things are out of our control. Going after a goal with fear is a sure way to not get what you want.
All the best plans sometimes fail, but we can’t be afraid to take action, to try our best. This requires risk. A risk you may fail, a risk you may look stupid in your mind.
If you knew everything that was going to happen, or if you got everything you wanted all of the time you wouldn’t grow much, your life wouldn’t be challenging or much fun. Not getting what you want may be God’s way of preparing you for something much bigger, something so fulfilling that you can’t even imagine it right now.
Not getting what you want may be God’s way of telling you to make adjustments and take more risks so your life. This will be exciting, fun and something that you will grow from. God wants to give you what you want but it may not look the way you think it’s going to look. If we orchestrate our lives down to the finest detail we leave no room for pleasant surprises, exhilarating adventures, and the deep wisdom that comes only from living a valiant life.
Would you prefer a life of boring experiences or would you rather spend each day following your dreams and pursuing your passion? And the tears that go along with seeking and achieving greatness?
Let go of control and fear, allow your life to shift with the experiences we face require immense vulnerability. Like surrender vulnerability is often mocked in todays culture and yet vulnerability is not weakness, instead it is the willingness to drop your façade and experience life’s happenings with every part of your being. It is a willingness to trust your intuition and God.
You are a small ship on a vast and Majestic River, the current will carry you where you want to go if only you stop trying to row up stream. In a day or a week even perhaps a year you will look back on the difficult time with fondness. No matter what happens at this very moment you are learning and changing being carried into a beautiful new awareness by a kind and loving father God.
You can only control yourself, but you are enough to enact big changes on the world. Love, compassion trust and vulnerability are your tools and with these tools you can do everything and achieve whatever you set out to do. You will not only succeed but also thrive. You are a masterpiece in progress as my coach would tell me “You are born to win, Designed for accomplishment, Engineered for success, Endowed with the seeds of greatness” and when you realize this is truth you can ask yourself “Why not me”. If you believe, then anything is possible. Chase your dream without fear of failing, fear of what others think.