The most important time to have a Fearless Mindset is when we are under the most stress. Sometimes this has nothing to do with competition or a high pressure situation in sport or business, but rather when we are forced out of the game altogether.
In this article I will talk mostly about injuries and sports, but the same lessons can be applied to the business world. Unemployment can be an injury in our professional life, forcing us out of the game, causing uncertainty and heightened emotions. Even if you do not participate in athletics you can apply the principles in your professional and personal life.
Some injuries can be prevented, and some cannot. No matter how the injury occurred the fact is that there is nothing we can do about it after the fact. We are injured. The time after an injury is usually filled with a fast paced flow of various thoughts and emotions. The mental, spiritual, and emotional components of our make up are often thrown into unbalance when our physical ability is limited. This happens to everyone, but it is a fearless mind that separates those who come back from injury better than ever and those that seem crippled the rest of their career. When we have a fearless mind we focus on what we can control, what we need to do, and we don’t let doubt creep into our mind.
Kyle Collinsworth was one of Brigham Young University basketball team’s top play makers last year before suffering a devastating knee injury. During the conference tournament in Las Vegas Collinsworth tore his ACL, an injury most athletes cringe at hearing just the acronym. An anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear can take up to 10 months to heal, but Collinsworth is ahead of schedule.
After suffering the injury, Collinsworth’s emotions were all over and he began to think constantly about what he could not do. “But after a couple days, I got all my emotions out, and I took a step back, and I just made a game plan of all I needed to do,” said Collinsworth, who made weekly visits to Dr. Craig Manning to fix his mindset. “It has been a ‘what can I do’ mindset from there, the whole time, which has been huge, because ‘the can’t do list’ is a big list.”
Focusing on what he could do, Collinsworth underwent surgery to repair his knee, being operated on by one of the best surgeons in the nation. After the surgery he focused on the little things he could do each day to not only optimize his recovery, but to improve his basketball skills. “The little things have been my main focus,” he said. “After I got hurt, all I could do was stand there and shoot with one hand forever. So it has just allowed me to work on other things [besides playing]. It has been a huge blessing, so far.”
The skills to focus on when injured
It is easy to focus on what we cannot do when we are injured. This becomes our default setting. The only way to get out of this default setting is to focus our mind on those things, as little as they may be, that we can do to help us progress back to health and performing at a high level.
Control the controllable
Once we are injured we cannot control if we are injured or not. Many athletes say that they learned a great deal of humility after getting injured, because one way or another they have to accept that they cannot control the situation they are in. When we are injured we need to focus on what is in our control—how we approach rehabilitation, the risks of re-injury we take, and all the little things we can do to speed our recovery.
Live in the present
In the moments just after an injury our mind tends to shoot to the past regretting any action that could have lead up to the injury. Then the mind shoots to the future and about all the lost opportunities that will result because of the injury. If we focus only on the future our mind fills with anxiety and the more regret we will feel. The best thing to do when injured is to approach each day as an opportunity to act and improve. A 6-month recovery can seem daunting, but as we focus on each individual day the time will move faster.
Injury adds stress to our life. If we are not careful that stress can set us back mentally, not only physically. A fearless mind—developing critical mental skills—can help any individual overcome those moments in life when we are thrown out of the game whether it is in athletics, our career, or our personal life. Live fearless.
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