Expectations are Premeditated Resentments

Like many of you, this is the time of the year where we would have a little more time to hang out with our friends and catch up on each other’s lives. This has by and large been enjoyable for me with the exception of a couple of instances with my friends who are coaches.

Why do coaches have so much to complain about?

This is not a loaded question to suggest that most coaches are whiners or that it is wrong to complain.

There are many aspects of the coaching landscape that could be improved, and it is fine to vent a little. However, some coaches rant non-stop about their circumstances and the number one source of unhappiness seems to be the lack of appreciation for their work from officials and athletes.

Control Your Controllables

Don’t get me wrong, I do feel the same at times BUT, I am adamant that we should not be such suckers for recognition especially since it’s not something that is within our direct control.

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“The more we values things outside our control, the less control we have…” Epictetus

You can’t control the officials and coaches who choose to criticize and even make fun of you despite your best efforts.

You can’t control athletes who are ungrateful and self-entitled.

 

What happens when we keep focusing on what we cannot control?

Over time, it spirals down towards helplessness and even depression! We end up becoming chronic whiners desperate for validation. Not only is this bad for our mental health, it affects the mood of the people around us including the athletes that we coach. Coaching becomes a form of drudgery and as a human being, we become ineffective and unhappy.

Is it possible to NOT expect any form of recognition?

This may sound bleak, but it is as it is. One of our core emotional needs is to feel appreciated and it is almost impossible to be selfless and do good purely for the sake of others, i.e., pure altruism. You could have given up your cushy job to help the poor, are raising funds to build a sanctuary for stray animals, or even doing missionary work for some god or deity, it is still a means to your own satisfaction.

People act in these ways because doing so affirms who they are (self-concept) and the kind of world they want to exist, thus tying self-interest and altruism together.

Is it possible to be selfish, altruistic and happy all at once?

I believe it is possible, but it’s something that we have to be constantly mindful about  rather than a constant state or something that we can master. I do have some suggestions that has helped me with this struggle, and it may work for you too…

1. Take care of yourself TOO

The common advice would be to take care of yourself FIRST, rather than TOO. I do not disagree, but I feel that it creates the perception that taking care of yourself or others has to be always ranked, or that they are dichotomies.

I’d rather ask myself how I could take care of myself and others at the same time. How can I align my business and self-interests with a purpose that extends beyond myself? And when push comes to shove and I need to choose between the two, I need not always prioritize my self-interest over altruism (which is in fact also tied in with self-interest).

Bottom-line, if you take care of yourself TOO, you are less likely to feel disgruntled or “victimized” and are more likely to be able to serve as an effective coach.

2. Letting go of Expectations

First, merely expecting something to happen will not make it happen (p.s. the “Law” of Attraction is BS). Yet many of us at some point have mistakenly believed that expecting other people to behave the way we want will actually make them behave that way!

Secondly, it is impossible to have no expectations, but we can learn how to let go of expectations and refocus on what matters and what’s within our control. Very often, this involves regaining control of our thoughts and recognizing that we can’t control what others think and do (or don’t do), but we can control how we respond to them.

“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” Viktor Frankl

In my opinion, this is by far the most important and difficult psychological skill to learn, and it is something that we can never really master. However, it is a worthwhile pursuit since it holds the key to our mental health and happiness.

Practicing gratitude and reminding ourselves about our coaching philosophy also helps us to let go of irrational thinking and expectations. This brings me to the last point…

3. Remind yourself of your WHY

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“To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering.” Friedrich Nietzsche

For coaches, this refers to your coaching philosophy or why you coach. Our coaching philosophy most often centers around a goal that extends beyond our self-interest (again tying in self-interest with altruism), unless of course your coaching philosophy is simply about seeking respect and recognition from others.

Reminding ourselves about our WHY helps to put challenges and irrational thoughts into perspective.

Finally, if you are caught in a situation where not only is there a lack of appreciation for the value that you bring, and your health and income suffers as a result, my suggestion would be to do yourself a favor and quit.

Merry Xmas!

Coach Hansen

 

 

Est Quod Est

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My definition of Est Quod Est…

To view the person and/or circumstance as it is.

There is no such thing as a bad person or bad circumstance, everything’s perfect and advancing to becoming complete.

We can’t directly change someone or something (and we shouldn’t). Ultimately, we can only change our own perspective and approach, and through that process, MAYBE the person or circumstance might change…

How many curve balls can life throw at once?

It’s been a rough last couple of weeks and while curveballs are inevitable in life, I’m not certain if we can really get used to it.

What I’m certain though, is that the better we are at seeing the world as it is, the better we will be able to recognise what’s within our control and what’s not, and the better we will feel about ourselves and the world around us…

It is as it is…

Coach Hansen

The 3 + 1 Step Formulae for Success

I was excited to visit the US on a sports diplomacy trip to learn and develop the content related to Inclusive Coaching for SG-Coach’s formal coach education. The trip was organized by the US Department of State, SportCares, SportSG and FHI 360.

Looking back on the trip, two things stood out. The first would be the new friendships forged. With those that I’ve known prior to the trip, we grew closer and renewed our commitment to make Singapore a more inclusive society.

Secondly, I am so thankful to be given the chance to learn from the many successful American sports teams, schools and non-profit organizations such as Cincinnati Football Club, US Paralympic Swimming, University of Texas Swimming and Dive Team, Starfire Council, Special Olympics Texas and The Play for All Abilities Park.

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At FC Cincinnati’s game against Montreal Impact

“What is their formula for their success?”

“What makes these organizations achieve the seemingly impossible?”

Success leaves clues and these were questions that I needed answers to. This post is a reflection about the fundamental commonalities that make these organizations successful.

Continue reading “The 3 + 1 Step Formulae for Success”

How to Coach like a Greek Philosopher

Has anyone heard of Stoicism?

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Two of the biggest influence on my approach to coaching – Process Focused Coaching, are Albert Ellis and Ken Ravizza. Both have passed on, and both were heavily influenced by the Stoic philosophy.

Ellis was described as a ‘Stoic Philosopher with a Sailor’s Mouth’. He was inspired by the writings of Stoic Philosophers to devise Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT). REBT was the first form of Cognitive Behavior Therapy and is still my preferred technique for athlete counseling.

According to Ellis, “people are not disturbed by things but rather by their view of things.” This is a dead ringer to the quote below by Epictetus (one of the three most important Stoic philosophers along with Marcus Aurelius and Seneca).

“It isn’t the events themselves that disturb people, but only their judgments about them.” – Epictetus

Continue reading “How to Coach like a Greek Philosopher”

“The impediment to action advances the action, what stands in the way becomes the way…” Marcus Aurelius

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Yup! We did not qualify for the 2017 Asean Para Games (APG).

Our commitment was questionable (attendance wasn’t up to mark) and although the women’s team had good results from friendly games, these were not IBSA sanctioned competitions. Results from IBSA sanctioned events are used as the main benchmarks for qualification.

Unfortunately, the latter is a real challenge mainly because the APG is the ONLY IBSA sanctioned competition for South East Asian countries. The level of competition for other IBSA events are at a much higher level and only Thailand competes at these competitions.

The cost is also high – USD 600 per player for a recent Asia Pacific competition organized by Thailand. Also, our players may not be able to take leave for overseas competition due to work or school commitments.

In addition, unlike our regional counterparts where selection can be made from domestic competitions, we do not have a big pool of players for any meaningful domestic competitions.

Given these circumstances, we will work with the SDSC to come up with a revised plan to measure the team’s progress leading up to APG 2019 (which also marks the end of the team’s five year plan). Should qualification for APG 2019 be improbable, then we will be better off directing our efforts towards a different pathway so long as the team’s core purpose – ‘To provide opportunities for persons with visual impairments to participate in a competitive team sport’ is still met.

Coach Hansen