How was your week? Any big wins? Any big opportunities to learn and grow from? Seriously, we want to know! Here at Victorious we have been working on a bunch of new things. It has certainly been an educational endeavor. In the end, we hope to soon have even more tools to help you grow your game and help you reach your Juniors and NCAA goals.
Coach Littler assured me that next week we will step away (albeit briefly) from the “Chop Wood Carry Water” teachings but he insisted that we share the following lesson on establishing and recognizing your identity first.
When we last left John he was practicing more often on his own. Even sneaking extra time in when he could.
The next thing he knew, he was in the infirmary, getting his shoulder wrapped. Akira explained his injury telling him, “Practice is good, but too much practice is not. Your muscles have torn, and they need time and rest in order to heal.”
Akira asked him a question: “John, who would you be if everything you do was taken away from you?”
“What do you mean, Akira-sensei?”
“I mean that right now, you cannot shoot and practice archery. You cannot chop wood and carry water. So, who are you?”
John thought for a minute, becoming frustrated as he realized: he didn’t have a good answer.
Akira nodded, understanding, “Do not worry. Even I fall into this trap, John. It is so easy for me to get caught up in the results I get from working with people, to get lost in the work or in the response from my archers. I constantly have to remind myself that my value comes from who I am, not from what I do.”
The truth is your value is constant, it is priceless, and it never truly goes up or down based off of results or your performance. Your value comes from who you are, not from what you do. Every human being is infinitely priceless.
Akira stood to go, leaving John with this:
“Here is my challenge for you, during your time here, John. Find your identity in something that cannot simply be stripped away in a moment, but instead do the hard work of reminding yourself that your value comes from who you are. For me, and it took me a long time to grasp this, but my identity comes from being a child of GOD, and that HE recklessly and unconditionally loves me.
…You can’t do anything to make HIM love you anymore, and you can’t do anything to make HIM love you any less. Therefore, you are free to accept HIS love, love HIM back, love yourself, and finally, and finally be freed to love others with no strings attached.
I do not expect you to believe everything that I believe John. You must come to your own conclusions. Whatever you do though, please don’t find your identity something that can be gone in a moment’s notice.”
Before too long, winter came again and practicing became harsh. John was having trouble struggling with his grip. Instead of acknowledging the cold Akira asked John what he knew about Navy Seals and their toughness:
“Do you know why? Because their training is the toughest on the planet.
Week after week of nonstop misery. No sleep, extreme weather and drill after drill where they are pushed past every single human limit, both mentally and physically.
Eighty percent of the men who enter SEAL training drop out, many because their bodies simply shut down. I met a SEAL once, and I asked him why they put themselves through such extreme circumstances. And I will never forget what he told me:
“Under pressure you don’t rise to the occasion, you sink to the level of your training. That is why we train so hard.”
You don’t find any traffic after going the extra mile, and there’s a very good reason for that: most people won’t do what it takes to get there.
But if you choose to do what others won’t, eventually you will get to do what others can’t.
People who get average results persist until things get uncomfortable, then they quit.
People who get good results persist until things get painful, then they quit.
People who get world class results have trained themselves to become comfortable when it is painful and uncomfortable.
You can’t cheat the grind, John. It knows how hard you have worked, and it won’t give you anything you have not earned.”
What is your identity? Can it be stripped away from you? You are not a hockey player but rather someone who is exceptional at hockey. Who is that “someone”? What defines him? Are you comfortable or can you grow past the pain? Will you do what others will not?
We tell all of the prospects that we meet that hockey will not last forever. Even for the veteran NHLer, the day will come when the skates are hung for good. What remains? What becomes of that person who spent so much time as a hockey player? It’s the identity that you have established for yourself as a person that will carry you through. Not just in retirement but your identity/your truest you is what will guide you through some of the most difficult and the most wonderful times of your hockey and non-hockey life. Don’t forget about it.
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