Staying in the Game

Anyone who knows me, knows I am a huge hockey fan. There is no more exciting time in the hockey season than playoffs. Fans (true and bandwagon) come out of the woodwork, and the city unites (well...except at times in Calgary, where there are enough BC transplants to make noise haha). There is an obvious show of support as you look around at the many wearing their jersey and red...it makes me smile. The last games were probably some of the most exciting I've seen. A controversial non-goal, and the Flames, a team who came from behind, showed up with heart and never gave up. It made me proud. It also brought me to reflect on what seemed different about the team we were all rooting for this year. The lessons can really apply to any game...even the game of life.
 
1. It's not just about you.
A team is at its strongest when they work together as a unit. Although we only have control over our own actions and choices, the repercussions of our behaviours affect far more than our own lives. In game 2, this was evident when two players had a breakaway at the end of the game, an open net, and a pass was still made so the other player could have the better shot. It's not just about you. In life, the behaviours we have around our health have obvious impact on ourselves, but also impact our families, friends, coworkers, even our neighbours. Poor lifestyle choices and consequent dis-ease has a big impact on all of us...so does wellness and optimal health.
 
2. You can't play it alone...and why would you want to?
We've probably all seen those games where there is a hotshot player who takes all the shots and glory. Its boring to watch and frustrating to play with. Plus, it is not sustainable. In any game, and in life, we all work better as a team. We have our obvious strengths and weaknesses, so why not surround ourselves with people (socially and professionally) that help us build on our strengths, develop our weaknesses or show up strong where we typically don't. If you consider any team, there is far more players than those on the ice. There are coaches, and managers, health and performance support, fans, arena staff, promo teams...the list goes on. Each one has a role in the culture that is upheld, and all are important for the overall experience and success of the team. In our own lives, all to often though we can take more on than we really need to. Having a team of people you trust, who support you in being your best is important!
 
3. The little things matter
It is so easy to disregard the little things. In hockey, it may be that missed pass, the slow return to the other end of the ice, or the unnecessary penalty. From what I see with patients, I would say its rare that a crisis occurs in isolation. Sure accidents happen, but I truly feel that the bigger impact on health exists in the daily, seemingly insignificant things. The extra hour sitting at our computer desk, in a chair that is slightly too big/ too small. The heavy purse we lug around on the same shoulder day-in and day-out. The mattress or pillow that should have been replaced 3 years ago. The little things become big things over time, but can be "more dangerous" because by the time we realize an issue has developed, we have been following the same pattern for months, to years and potentially decades.
 
4. Stay Present
In my observation, one of the most important behaviours is to be present. If a player dwells on a missed play or goal (ahem...it was in!), they will not be prepared to handle whats next. The next moment very well may offer a second chance. With health, this is important too. It can be great to focus on where you want to be, and it may be easy to fall back into memories of how things used to be (good or bad), but all we truly have is right now. If we handle each moment mindfully, making the best choices we can right now....eventually our "nows" will have accumulated and moved us in directions we never expected.
 
5. BE-DO-HAVE
Our loveable hockey team showed up with heart, as champions. They showed up not according to what people may have thought of them, but as the team they believed they could be. Without this identity piece, all the action in the world has much less impact. Often when we go through the motions of action, and fail to get the desired results, the missing piece is who we are showing up as. Often I see people who have spent a long time identifying with chronic pain, or those wanting to lose weight who just can't shed the pounds. To have the outcomes, actions must be taken, but first, the most powerful step, is to identify the qualities it takes to get the results you want. Paying attention to the vocabulary you use can be a clue as to if you believe you can even get the results you want. Be great, do great things and have great results!