I have been in the pressure cooker that is professional sport for nine years now. As your body changes so to does your mindset. Like the beginning of most peoples careers it was all about me, and understandably so. I was young, hungry, selfish and overconfident. For aspiring athletes all we want is our Eminem moment (one shot, one opportunity) to take to the field and fulfill our dreams. This remains true until we get there. Then the goal posts shift and this one shot isn’t enough as our aspirations grow and our potential is realised. It is important to have something to strive for. It keeps the fire stoked and the blade of competitiveness sharp.
Aside from our aspirations what also changes in time is our mindset. My thought process shifted from my goals, my contracts and me to the team and the pursuit of joint success. Why is this so? I think because the road to “me” is a lonely one. What is success if it cannot be shared?
I smile thinking back on those rare of occasions when everything you practiced went to plan. I cherish those special seconds after the game shared with teammates in victory or defeat. These are the moments I will look back fondly on when the boots are hung up. When we share our trials and tribulations in sport and in life we open ourselves up to be strengthened by those around us. There is something special in knowing, that alone our chances of success are slim but together our goals are more attainable. Ringlemann may disagree but he never played rugby.
The mindset of the individual and the mindset of the group are both necessary. It is however the one you invest in the most that will be evident in your actions as a player and a person. Have the desire for success, hold yourself accountable to your inner standards but also let others lift you up as you lift them for what is success if it cannot be shared?