Finishing Strong

It struck me recently that we are masterful at initiating things as sport leaders, athletes, and coaches. We are forever looking to climb the next mountain and even as we reach our peak, we are already seeking the thrill of what’s next. This incessant drive to accomplish something has built significant ‘initiation’ muscles. We begin. We stay in. Then rush through the completion phase as quickly as we possibly can so that we can begin the cycle all over again.

Rinse. Wash. Repeat. How is that serving you?

What if we interrupted this cycle to pause …  take in … and register the experience? What might this new move allow for?

As I have been immersed in my Thanatology course since September, I have been contemplating death and loss daily. Nothing forces you to consider completion quite like the topic of death. In these moments, we often give ourselves permission to reflect on the death experience from a place of compassion … I suspect so that we can make meaning of this life altering occurrence.

But what about the dozens of experiences that we move through each day? In what ways are we acknowledging our experience within the experience? What might happen if we were to approach our daily living more intentionally?

Turns out, everything shifts when we activate awareness. When I work with athletes, they share that they get more out of their training when they bring more conscious awareness to their experience. With sport leaders, some feel a greater sense of accomplishment and joy while others have shared they feel lighter and calmer.

So, how does one complete in a conscious way? How does one finish strong?

I am so deeply privileged to have studied under my ICC teacher and mentor Laura Divine. She recently shared her views on Conscious Completion that I found super helpful. Laura spoke in words what I have been experiencing over the past few years … that we are feeling weighed down, lethargic and depleted in part because we haven’t learned and practiced the art of conscious completion. So, as we begin to enter into a festive time of the year that can be a time of renewal for many, and a frantic time for others, I offer some of these steps to support you in transitioning out of 2019 and into what awaits beyond.

These daily practices can be incorporated into your everyday life … tasks and events such as brushing your teeth, washing dishes, finishing projects, saying goodbye, commuting to work, achieving a goal, ending a season … they all offer accessible ways for us to be more conscious. What might you discover about how you consciously complete as you invite more awareness into your life?

Step 1: Make a commitment to finish strong at least once a day. To do so, pick something that you want to complete intentionally.

Step 2: As you begin your task/ activity, pay attention to what is happening as you immerse yourself in the execution of the task. The intentional focus on the experience cultivates presence. And presence builds our capacity as leaders to be with ‘life’s experiences’ in a particular kind of way.

Step 3: As you get ready to finish what you started, register the completion by pausing. Take stock of your completion and say a few words out loud like “that felt good” or “I’m glad that’s over with”. The point is to register and name the ending of what you were in.

Step 4: Then take a deep breath in, to the count of 5, hold for 5 and exhale slowly. Our breath is our gift. When we breathe in a particular kind of way, it releases endorphins that can signal to our body that we are safe, which in turn makes us feel relaxed. Imagine being able to cultivate this sense of relaxation each day?

Step 5: Take a moment to register how you feel about what you just completed. What word bubbles up for you as you consider the emotion that is surfacing? What was hard or easy about this activity? What did you discover? What surprised you? What are you most grateful for? This inner dialogue takes only a few moments and is an important part of the completion process.

As you more deliberately engage in completion rituals, notice if you begin to feel lighter as a result. Notice whether you can experience some of the subtle shifts in your inner realm. Notice whether you have greater access to presence. I have found that in using this practice, I have been able to:

  • Increase my energy
  • Experience greater levels of joy
  • Feel more connected to my inner realm
  • Close off projects in a manner that recognizes the ending of something that was significant to me
  • Say goodbye to relationships in a manner that is respectful and compassionate for all involved

I am discovering that it’s the simplest things in life that can often offer us the greatest moments of joy. My hope for all of you is that this completion practice supports you in your leadership journey by encouraging you to finish strong. If you are looking to hone your leadership skills, please feel free to connect with Dina at DBL@sportlaw.ca, Lauren at LLB@sportlaw.ca or Rosie at RMT@sportlaw.ca. As Integral CoachesTM, we are here to support you in your leadership development.

 

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