The Inner Athlete: Spirit

Today we reach the end of our four week journey into the foundational elements of the Inner Athlete.  My goal over the past month was to begin to scrape away at the surface of what I believe are the tools and attributes that will help us become the best we possibly can be and WIN in our respective game of life.

The last element of the Inner Athlete that we will talk about is the Spirit.  I want to admit that I was most excited and a bit intimated to bite into the topic of Spirit since it is so critical to binding the body and mind together, yet is often the most difficult to describe or relate into a tangible ‘thing’.

The good news is, I’m always up for a challenge, so let’s get after it!

InnerAthlete-Spirit

The idea of Spirit can take a variety of forms or names.  Yet it ultimately comes back to our internal WHY.  Why are we here?  Why are we doing what we are doing?  I reflected on my ‘Why‘ for Will Athletic before digging into this post because I felt it would provide the inspiration to bring all of the Inner Athlete posts together in a cohesive way.

While our spirit may not be something we can touch or a muscle we can flex, it is something that we can work out and strengthen – in fact it is critical that we do so.

We are the sum of our body, mind and spirit, and that sum is what faces the adversity that confronts us on a daily basis.

There will be times when the challenges of life beat down our bodies and hammer our minds.  It is at times like these when the spirit lifts us up to defy what we may physically or mentally feel is impossible, and enables us to wage our battle and come out the other end.

Whether you look at the sporting or business world, you won’t be hard pressed to find athletes and businessmen who on the surface had the brains and brawn required to dominate on their field, yet faltered and fell far short of their potential and expectations.  Many times this fall was a result of a weak spirit – a weak ‘why’.

Therefore, I challenge you – in an effort to become your best – to identify and train your spirit through a dedication to your Purpose, Belief, and Values.

Purpose

Finding one’s purpose is a hot topic now, and as much as a focus on the search for purpose can bring positive results, it can also be a detriment to actually finding it…

Confused?  Let me explain.

As much as we may want it to be, finding one’s purpose in life is not a checkbox that you mark after some epiphany one day, and never look at it again.  The search for purpose is a lifelong journey – one that continues to evolve as you evolve.  Your purpose and potential to impact your world develops as you develop.

The key is to dedicate time to reflect on what fires you up, what speaks to your heart, and what you do that makes you feel GREAT.  Once you begin to form some ideas, DO SOMETHING WITH IT!!!

I admit, I struggled with this for a long time.  I felt my purpose had to be this specific and defined thing, yet it never took shape.  Before I started this blog, I had a fuzzy idea of what Will Athletic was, and let me say that it remains just as fuzzy.

There are a ton of questions I still have in terms of what it could be, and I could have sat on the idea until it was complete (spoiler alert – it never would have happened).  I decided to start – I took action, and writing this blog and thinking through how I can embody the Inner Athlete to inspire myself and others FIRES ME UP!

So take the time to journal, meditate, talk with trusted advisors and friends or whatever may work for you.  Go deep and begin to see the fuzziness of your purpose, and then take action!

Beliefs

If we are to create a spirit that can help us to withstand any adversity and weather the biggest storms of our life, then we must build it upon what we know to be undeniably true – we must build our spirit upon our beliefs.

The exciting reality about this section and the next is that while there is no right answer for everyone, there IS a right answer for YOU.

When you believe in something that is at the core of who you are, you will fight for that thing no matter what. It is that intensity and passion that will inspire you when times get tough, or when you don’t feel like doing something that you know will make you better and get you one step closer to your goals.

Your beliefs will span all areas of your life, and work together to create a complete YOU.  They will in some way also be at the center of your passions, and can serve as a good starting point to discovering your ‘why’.

Take the time to be clear on what you truly believe and continue to strengthen those beliefs.  As we work to strengthen our spirit, there is no better way to create a shaky footing for yourself than by having doubts on what you believe to be true or foundational to who you are as a person.

Values

To create and foster a strong spirit, you must be very clear on what you find important and most meaningful at the core of your being.  You must understand what you truly value.

As I look around and listen to the world around me, it becomes more apparently that people’s lack of engagement or happiness is tied to them not spending their time doing things that are aligned with their values.

If you are doing something – whether it be a job, hobby, or some other pursuit – that goes completely or partially against your values, than no matter how much money, prestige, success, or notoriety you receive for doing that ‘thing’, you will be lacking a true sense of happiness or accomplishment.  Something will always be missing.

It might be easy for a time to operate at a high level while being out of alignment with your values, but as you rise in the ranks and take on more responsibilities, challenges, and higher stakes that come with pushing yourself to new levels, that emptiness and drain on your motivation will grow and grow.  This is when those star performers begin to crumble under the pressure.  I feel it is less to do with their physical or mental strength, and more to do with a weakness in their spirit.

Take the time to review and reassess what you value in life and ask whether how you are living your life aligns with those values.   Maybe you have a strong alignment, or maybe it is time for a change.

Explore your Inner Athlete

Thank you again for spending the past few articles exploring the key elements that make up the Inner Athlete.

I hope they resonate with you, and far more importantly, I hope they inspire you to assess how those elements are operating within your life and then take action to strengthen them!

See you on the field.

Discussion Question:  How will you commit to finding clarity on your beliefs and values, and use that to begin to define your purpose?  Don’t forget to take action no matter how blurry!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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