Faith, defined by Webster’s: “A firm belief in something for which there is no proof.” Great athletes and great teams believe they can win despite having no proof. Great coaches instill faith in their players. Faith doesn’t always come naturally. It takes practice.
Most athletes have been on both sides of the faith coin. I’ve played for coaches who had no faith – who seemed resigned to losing, and I’ve played for a few for whom faith was welded to their being. I know what it feels like to play with, and without faith. Playing without faith is a waste of time and effort.
When someone believes in you (think – coach, parent, boss, spouse etc.), you learn to believe in yourself. And when you believe in yourself, you’ve taken the first step towards success. Faith can be learned, and taught. It’s a cornerstone of leadership.
When it comes to having faith, is there really even an option here? When things get tough, you have only 2 choices: to believe, or not to believe. If you don’t believe, you’ve already lost. In cultivating the presence to believe that things are going to be ok, you build resilience. You learn that regardless of whatever happens in life’s next play – you will improvise, adapt, and “figure it out” as my dad used to say. One way or another, you’ll be fine.
Though there is a place for hope, in cultivating an attitude of faith, you’re building something much stronger than just hope. Something more powerful.
Nothing changes without practice. Practice not having faith and you’ll get better at that. Practice having faith and you’ll get better at that. Whether you know it or not, you’re always practicing on one side or the other.
If you want to develop a more faithful presence, try sitting in a quiet place for a few minutes each day (morning is best.) Remind yourself of all the challenges you have already overcome in life – on and off the field. Picture it. Accept your failures, and focus more on your effort and attitude going forward. Quietly practice cultivating the seed within you that says “I can.” Because you can. Cherish those daily challenges in your life that allow you to practice.
Remind yourself every day that all you can control is your attitude, how you respond to this “proofless” unknown that you’ll face in life. You won’t always win the game, but you’ll win in life. That’s what matters.
So keep practicing.
Then show someone else.
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