Regardless of the sport every athlete fights to improve their performance. They spend countless hours running, sprinting, lifting, jumping, hurdling, passing, catching, shotputting, and practicing. And they all seek to improve the athlete they were last year, last week, or the day before.
So here are six lessons that we can learn from athletes on how to improve who we are in relationships:
1) Athletes look within to improve themselves. When athletes lose a game, they spend hours going over old footage, games, and competitions. Instead of blaming their teammates, they look within. They look at what worked and what didn’t work. They look at their form, their mistakes, and how they could have improved. Reflecting on their performance enables them to enter the next competition or game with a clear mind, conscious of their goals, mistakes, and ready to win.
2) Athletes use their past to mold who they want to be. When athletes lose, they figure out what it takes for them to become better. Instead of jumping heart first into a relationship, reflect on your behavior, choices, and patterns. What destructive patterns do you have? Are you choosing the same type of person over and over? Use what you have learned to mold who you want to be in a relationship.
3) Athletes always play within a set of established rules. They don’t change or bend the rules when they meet a new opponent or decide to change them in the fourth quarter. Take the time to learn who you are, what you want, and what you will and will not put up with. Establish clear boundaries at the beginning of your relationship. If one of your expectations is that an individual will do what they say, don’t stay silent when someone shows up 2 hours after they told you they would. The less you say, the more it will happen. And expecting someone to change after two years into a relationship is like changing the rules in the middle of a match.
4) Athletes fully research an agent before they sign a contract. Athletes find out whether their agent shares their same goals and whether they have their best interest at heart. When you meet someone new, take the time to understand their desires, dreams, values, and fears. The more time you spend getting to know someone on the front end, the more it will provide you with the opportunity to determine whether you are compatible with them and whether you can see yourself in a relationship. Don’t wait until you are deep into a relationship to determine if you have the same ambition, goals, and interests. Learn what is important to them, along with their desired communication style, their values, and whether they have your best interest at heart.
5) Athletes know that winning titles and championships takes practice. Love, like any sport, takes practice and patience. Very few people end up with the love of their life on the very first try. Dating is a gift. It also serves an incredible purpose of granting you the opportunity to decide who you want to end up with. It enables you to figure out what you like or don’t like and what you can and can’t put up with. Think of your bad dates and past relationships as valuable lessons. Take what you have learned and move on.
6) Athletes do not expect to be championship players on the first day of practice. Manage your expectations. For the record, I don’t know one person who has ended up even remotely close to anyone like the main character in a romantic comedy, novel, or television show. Whether it is The Notebook, Titanic, or Love Jones, let me be the first to tell you that those are all movies written by a screen writer. If they were true, they would be called documentaries and not romantic comedies. Be realistic about your expectations in a partner. Focus on values that you are looking for in a person instead of a list of “must haves”. The happiest couples tend to say that love came to them when they stopped focusing on physical wants and opened their minds to how they were treated. A person can always look like Idris Elba or David Beckham but treat you or your family horribly.
© Kristen Crockett