You see this all the time on both sides of winning. Because when we do our best and bring it, we always win. There could be short term failure, but the graph is always pushing low left to high right, over time we always experience success, we always win. Sometimes those wins aren’t grandiose, maybe they are little success, little wins and the culmination of all those little wins, if passionate enough to stay the course always seem to add up to winning in the big picture.
How do you WIN? You gotta go for it. Easier said than done, I hear ya. Just ask former UFC champ Tyron Woodley why he didn’t want to pull the trigger in his title fight on Saturday against up and comer and now new champ Kamaru Usman. The result? A championship loss and a bunch of unanswered questions in regard to his performance.
From an outside perspective and a mere amateur at evaluating the sport, I can sum it up in one sentence. “He didn’t go for it”. He didn’t let loose. Was it preparation? Was it his belief system? Why so tentative and why does it affect so many athletes when trying to reach maximum performance? One word. Risk. He didn’t want any of it and boy did it show. As a matter of fact, it shows all over athletic performance. To “Go for it” assumes incredible risk. It’s that underlying layer of self-belief and confidence, that one deep down where you gut check yourself… You either bail or you don’t. And you know when you bail. Your soul knows. It permeates to your brain and then you sit there disappointed in much disbelief that you didn’t go all the way. That’s the definition of frustration. Most athletes that “don’t go for it” know it all too well. They are sorry. They apologize to their TEAM, their family, their peers for the lack of performance. The good news, it doesn’t have to happen that way.
Acceptance vs avoidance of risk are both very different concepts. We’ve had the chance to work with the best NHL players in the world for well over 10 years. Through those relationships and our partners in performance program we’ve been able to mingle with best in class coaches and athletes from other disciplines, all in an effort to support and learn from one another in our search of the holy grail of ultimate athletic performance. In all of our recent interviews, articles, we’ve always seen the best have a greater acceptance of risk vs all the others. That’s risk everywhere. Not just in the fight or in the heat of the battle. How far are you really willing to go? Elite athletes from around the globe challenge themselves with risk in all things. They risk with their body, their intellect, their relationships, their preparation, their belief system and their in-game performances. They risk marriages, family, kids sometimes even life in search for the perfect game. Believe me, that’s not for everyone. But if you’re looking to be the best, acceptance of risk in these areas of your life has to be part of your DNA.
Most of us avoid risk. Heck we are taught at a young age that risk isn’t good. But you see it’s a necessary evil that guarantees short term failure and short term hurt. As humans, we don’t like those things very much. Ask any athlete in the world if they like the feeling of not performing, being emotionally devastated by a performance. 100% of them are going to say no. But… 100% of the very elite ones are going to let you know that it’s part of the game, that’s a by-product that they are willing to put on the line if they fail. That’s accepting risk. To reach your God given purpose, you must be willing to put your performance out there, for everyone to see, you need to put it all on the line.
So, risk acceptance vs avoidance? Do you just “go for it” or “wait another day?”. It’s all about getting comfortable with the concept of risk and training yourself in the layered outcomes. Yes, some of those situations will not work out but some will and if you’re like me, I don’t want to be sitting on the rocking chair out on the front porch watching young lively kids playing outside with all of this energy, vitality and dreams and be wondering… “What if I would have gone for it with that opportunity, what if I would have put myself out there with this other opportunity?”. Unfortunately, that person will never know his or her true potential. The one forged by our creator into the depths of your own, very unique and special DNA. Use risk to unlock. Use risk to rise and become the person and athlete that God created you to be!