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Turning the Challenges of 2020 into Future Opportunities

Elise Jones Jan 5, 2021 5:06:57 PM

As we cross the threshold into 2021, it may be our first instinct to shut the door on everything that happened last year and start fresh in the new year. While there is undoubtedly plenty to leave behind us, we should also recognize everything we overcame and achieved in what was for many people their toughest year to date. We learned that the limits of our abilities were further than we thought, proved we were a lot more resilient than we ever knew, and created strategies that allowed us not only to survive but to truly thrive under immense pressure and adversity. These accomplishments should be acknowledged and celebrated, and we should hold onto the skills and practices that got us through the most uncomfortable and stressful times.   

Here at Valor, we’re thinking about how to take those tough moments from 2020 and turn what we learned about ourselves into resolutions to keep for 2021. We asked a few of our Coaches to weigh in on what to keep from 2020.

Whitney Otto, Master Coach at Valor Performance
Whitney Otto is a Valor Master Coach and has a MA in Counseling and is a Certified Co-Active Coach.

Choose optimism:

“The pandemic has led people to feel burdened, trapped, and overwhelmed. The opposite of these feelings is a sense of freedom. Freedom doesn’t exist without choice, and so much of my work has been helping people see where they are habitually choosing a thought, a perspective, a behavior that diminishes their freedom, energy, and well-being. Our work together is to bring awareness to this dynamic, and helps clients identify another choice.” 

Embrace recovery as a performance strategy:

As many of us are returning to work this week after some much-needed time off, the notion of rest and recovery feels fresh in our minds. Just as important as pushing your limits to finish strong, is knowing when the recovery phase will actually improve your performance

“Listen to your body,” Otto says. “If your body is requesting sleep, exercise, and breaks, these aren’t time spent away from work, but an investment in your performance. Establish a schedule that gives you breaks and maintains the intervals of time that you valued in your pre-Covid routine.”

Invest in relationships:

“Take time to have conversations with people you trust about what is going on. Time to reflect and share with another person can help you build awareness, develop clarity, and solve problems.”

Dr. Paul Ashbrook, Elite Coach at Valor Performance

Dr. Paul Ashbrook is an Elite Coach at Valor Performance, holds a PsyD in Sport and Performance Psychology, an MA Sport and Exercise Psychology and is a Certified Mental Performance Coach.

Lean into your own self-awareness:

“Do not suppress your emotions. They are valid and true. But at the same time, don’t let uncertainty, discomfort, or the prospect of a challenge lead to making reckless, disruptive, or emotionally volatile decisions. You control what to focus on.” 

Practice mindfulness:

The benefits of being more mindful are well-documented. In addition to creating a more sustainable routine for performance, learning to be more mindful can also decrease the impact of stress, increase your focus, and even make you a better leader. 

“Get better at slowing down. Take the time to become better at fully immersing yourself in the present moment.” 

Be curious:

The world we live in is constantly changing, evolving, and transforming. This past year is a perfect example of that. With the mindset of a lifelong learner, reacting to change with inquisitiveness will result in innovation, growth, and better ideas. 

“Try something new. Understand that you are more than a performer. Go outside of your comfort zone and try different things. It will teach you able the importance of balance.” 

Inga Stasiulionyte, Performance Coach at Valor Performance and Olympic javelin thrower

Inga Stasiulionyte is a Performance Coach at Valor and is an Olympic javelin thrower.

Create systems you can fall back on when you feel overwhelmed by a challenge:

We made it through 2020, so we know now that we can rise to a challenge. We have the proof. 

“The pandemic exposed our personal weaknesses, however, it also showed the strengths that will allow us to succeed in the newly unstable world’s reality. Sports psychology teaches us how to convert challenges into meaningful opportunities by building strength, self-understanding, and support systems. 

Take time for yourself (and each other):

We build strength and resilience by caring for ourselves. This requires us to be “deeply in tune with our physical, mental, and emotional states. Self-understanding allows us to find our place and meaning in the pandemic where we feel in balance with what’s expected of us, the expectations we have for ourselves, and this new reality.”

At the same time, having a support system “through a diverse community helps to provide sustainable resilience for each other. We still don’t know how long the pandemic will last and what other challenges it will bring. But we do know that we cannot survive alone. By taking care of ourselves and each other we will always see the win.”

Our Coaches and Clients know that adversity does, in fact, make you a stronger performer. As we set our goals and align our strategies for a new year, let’s resolve not to forget what we learned about ourselves and the things we truly value from the challenges we faced in 2020.

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