Winning Character Traits to Learn from Successful Athletes
Athletics is engrained in our daily culture and society, but the definition of a successful athlete is often misunderstood. An athlete can be defined as a person that is proficient in sports or other forms of physical exercise. Many people measure an athlete’s success based on their on-field accomplishments and accolades. Sports.Peace.Love. measures an athlete’s successful by the ability to integrate the values and traits learned through the lessons of sports into daily life and interactions with others.
There are 4 main character traits of successful athletes that everyone should embrace and develop in order to experience success in their personal and professional lives. Those character traits are:
2) Taking Risks
3) Overcoming Disappointments
Teamwork is one of the first skills that come to mind when describing the qualities of an athlete. Athletics teaches how to be a leader and when to follow. Knowing how to step up and lead and when to fall back follow demonstrates that you value the people around you and gives them a chance to shine. Good “team players” know when to pass the ball for the success of the team. The ability to work well with others is invaluable skill.
Here are ways to build your own team to support you and your endeavors whether you are an athlete or not.
1) Reconnect with people from your past. Use social media, school reunions or other events to reconnect. Be ready to embrace the changes in others and yourself and be open to the possibility of a renewed positive connection.
2) Go alone. Go to workshops, professional events, or social events by yourself. Release the fear of being judged and prepare to meet someone new. You could meet your next business contact, or client.
3) Think outside your box. Find activities outside of your regular interest and try something new. You may discover a new passion and meet a new circle of people at the same time.
Ability to Take Risks:
Taking risks as an athlete means being vulnerable and open to criticism, feedback, and praise from others in order to improve and grow. Negatively internalizing criticism and feedback can hinder opportunities to improve. Deflecting praise and compliments devalues the effort of the person giving the compliment.
The keys to benefiting from criticism, feedback, and praise are to:
1) Filter criticism, feedback, and praise through a positive lens of love instead of judgment.
2) Remove emotions. Remember that feedback and criticism are reflections of an action or result, they are not personal, and so you must not internalize them.
3) Give more praise, feedback and criticism to others more often. This will make it more comfortable to receive praise, feedback and criticism.
Learning to overcome disappointments is an important trait to learn from successful athletes so that you can move forward towards victory and accomplishments. When faced with disappointments, it is important to realize that disappointment does NOT equal defeat. Disappointment is a failure to meet expectations, and defeat is the prevention of success. Failing to meet expectations can happen everyday; being late to a meeting, missing a deadline, or errors in a spreadsheet, but those unmet expectations do not determine the end result of the goal. To overcome disappointments with the tenacity of a successful athlete to you must:
1) Be flexible. Recognize that there are several ways to achieve a desired goal.
2) Be quick to adapt. When focusing on disappointment for too long, you may miss your next chance for success. In athletics, timeouts, substitutions, and half-times are moments in competition that are needed to for physical rest but also for adaptation and change in strategy.
3) Be proactive. It is important to have a plan and strategy prepared for different situations and outcomes. Before you implement that plan/strategy recognize that your strategy may need to change and envision how you will respond to that change before it happens.
Perseverance is the continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure or opposition. There are 2 sources of perseverance for athletes to be successful.
A) Internal perseverance: Is the individual drive to work hard, become better, and achieve their goal.
B) External perseverance: An outside source, coach, friend, teammate, etc, that drives your will to succeed and not give up.
External perseverance is of utmost importance for everyone, athlete or not. This relates back to building a core team of people for support. A good external source of perseverance does the following:
1) Shows support through actions and words.
2) Provides constructive criticism, feedback, and praise for you to grow and develop.
3) Encourages you to reach your potential.
4) Holds you accountable for your actions.
5) Will not let you quit.
The winning characteristics of successful athletes take time and practice to develop. The daily implementation of TEAM BUILDING, TAKING RISKS, OVERCOMING DISAPPOINTMENTS, and PERSEVERANCE will improve your interactions with others, shift self-perspective, and increase your success in your personal and professional life.
*Remember you do not have to make yourself perfect, you just have to be a little bit better than before.
(Photo Source: http://drpinna.com/dr-mirkin-on-exercise-13834/vegetarian-athletes-successful)