“I believed for a long time that I could play at this level again. I didn’t see why I couldn’t.”
– Phil Mickelson
Even if you’re not a fan of golf, you’d have to be inspired by the win of Phil Mickelson yesterday, who at the age of 50, and 3 weeks shy of his 51st birthday, became the oldest ever winner of a Major – the elite competition level of golfers worldwide.
It could be a Roger Bannister moment for the sport. If you recall, he was the first person to break the 4 minute mile. But in the years that followed, many others followed his example. Why? Because the ‘belief’ that it was impossible had been smashed.
“You need to get out of your own way Shane”.
These were the words from a mentor of mine many years ago when I was struggling with severe depression. At the time I thought they just didn’t understand me or my situation. But my God with hindsight, were they right.
At the time, I wasn’t fully aware of the extent to which my inner world was blocking my progress in and enjoyment of life. My inner voice had turned toxic and had completed a coup on the leadership of my inner organisation and the culture inside me was suffering intensely as a result.
The talented Irish journalist David Walsh had a great turn of phrase in his paper, The Sunday Times yesterday.
He was writing about the Manchester United player Paul Pogba, who he suggested that his time ha come to move on – for himself and club.
Too often, he wrote, does the player play in a way that is ‘present but not engaged.’
What a super and profound turn of phrase.
And it perfectly sums up one of the biggest challenges for people and organisations everywhere right now.
If you’re on my mailing list a while you’ll know that I’ve written a couple of stage plays and while people have been very complimentary on them, they don’t see the ‘inner wrestling’ that was part of the journey to creating them.
Creating those plays taught me a lot about myself.
The most recent one, The Waiting Room, was an idea in my mind for 7 years before I started writing it. The truth is I kept telling myself a lie for too long which held me back from starting.
It wasn’t until I was talking with one of my mentors that I realised something – I was procrastinating, waiting for the ‘perfect time’ to start. I had fallen into the ‘mental trap’ that I often help my clients get out of…. getting stuck in the ‘what’s the path to make this happen?’. And this creates indecision.
The only decision to make… is the decision to begin.
I’ve started taking a slight interest in gardening recently and I am finding it surprisingly therapeutic and ‘grounding’. (words I never thought I would ever write or say…)
It was triggered by a problem that had emerged when myself and TLJ* had put down new grass in an area of our garden. Surprisingly for Ireland, there has been very little rain over the last month (that issue has been solved as of today as it’s pouring outside!) and that, combined with a lot of sun in this area of the garden meant that the grass was dying.
So we took to regularly watering this area and the grass is recovering, bringing with it a lovely green sheen and vibrancy.
If you’re a fan of sport you will have heard all about the saga of the ‘Super League’ but even if you’re not, you most likely will have heard about it as it made headlines globally for all of last week.
In essence, 12 of the biggest soccer teams in Europe made it public that they were creating a new league that they would control, could never be relegated from and would depart the premier competition in Europe, The Champions League.
Within 2 days of that announcement it was dead in the water.
“Reality is what we take to be true.
What we take to be true is what we believe.
What we believe is based upon our perceptions.
What we perceive depends upon what we look for.
What we look for depends upon what we think.
What we think depends upon what we perceive.
What we perceive depends upon what we believe.
What we believe determines what we take to be true.
What we take to be true is our reality.”
– David Bohm
This quote by the American scientist, who has been described as one of the most significant theoretical physicists of the 20th century, is profound and worth re-reading many, many times. When I first read it, it stopped me in my tracks.
In essence it is saying that reality, or what we perceive as reality, is completely made up – by our minds.
So for example…
As regular readers of this weekly mail will know, I’m a big fan of sport – and in particular those who persist against the odds to succeed.
So it should be no surprise that today the focus is on an incredible woman, Rachael Blackmore, who won the English Grand National on Saturday – becoming the first woman jockey to ever do so.
By winning she sent a clear message to the sports world to judge people on their merits and not on whether they are male, female or any other gender.
What I love about her journey so far is that she isn’t a child prodigy now achieving what was expected of her.
As a mentor of mine once said to me about our most important relationships when an argument emerges….
“You can focus on who’s right or you can focus on the relationship. Where you put your focus determines if he relationship dies or thrives.”
It stunned me with it’s truth.
Fear never brings out the best in people.
If you imagine a continuum, where at one end is fear and the other is safety.
It’s worth watching where you are on that, and also where the people around you are.
A little fear in’t the worst thing, but if it’s at the far end of the continuum it will impair performance and results.
When fear has a hold on you, it’s impossible to live in alignment with your authentic self – to bring out your best.