Pause a moment and think about a time when your playing surfaces suffered. Disease, traffic issues, weather events… any or all can force you to take measures to mitigate the damage. Perhaps you add medicine, raise the HOC, or divert activity away from the area all together in order to alleviate the pressures and allow space for recovery. Basically you were forced to confront vulnerability and then impart measures of care and nurturing in order to fix the problem.
How many times in your career have you come face to face with a problem like this which you knew in your gut could have been prevented or the damage lessened? How much time, money and energy went into organizing, implementing and then waiting for eventual solution to said problem to kick in? At the end of the day were you able to step back and see that maybe, just maybe, an ounce of prevention could have helped you avoid the problem altogether?
Think in terms of reducing your quest for perfection in order to achieve a more sustainable outcome. What if you could acknowledge to yourself that by implementing a more nurturing plan over time, you could actually avoid some of the more problematic issues you encounter?
Think in terms of reducing your quest for perfection in order to achieve a more sustainable outcome.
Now take a moment and think of a more personal situation in your life to which a preemptive such as healthy eating, exercise, or therapy/internal work might have acted as that ounce of prevention, averting the need for a pound of cure.
In our house we call preventative actions “kindnesses to future self”. For example: the night before a big day of musical theater rehearsal followed in short order by a driving lesson, we welcome our youngest daughter to stave off potential overwhelm by considering how she might best prepare for the busy day. Is there a small action she could take before bed, such as preparing her favorite breakfast bake to pop in the oven the next morning while she is getting ready so that the feeling of jangled nerves is soothed by the welcome aroma of vanilla and oats slowly warming to perfection? Ahhh… the wonders of pre-emptive self-nurturing!
In our house we call preventative actions “kindnesses to future self”...
Overwork, faulty thinking, and an unwillingness to loosen the reins are all traps that superintendents can fall prey to over the course of their careers. Oftentimes an unwillingness to embrace feelings of vulnerability sets one up for such missteps on their way. Its okay to take the foot off the pedal and admit the “championship conditions” may not be achievable 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for the entirety of the season. Adjusting the expectations barometer from unrealistic to reasonable makes for happier, healthier working conditions!
Pause again for a moment and consider, does it make you feel more vulnerable to think about the overlap between difficulties at the workplace and challenges in your personal life? What might help you lean into the more prickly edges associated with embracing vulnerability as a pathway to more proactive self care?
Kindness is a concept closely linked to compassion. For many people, learning to practice self-compassion is the gateway they could never find to self love. Loving oneself requires an acknowledgment of vulnerability. You do a much better job caring for something which you highly value than something you consider to be of little regard... but for many people the concept of valuing themselves is a foreign one.
In the workplace we may have saved for an expensive new piece of equipment and because we know how valuable the machinery is we ensure that it is well cared for, keep up with regular maintenance, and make sure that everyone is trained in how to properly use it so that it does not wear out before its time.
Why then is it so difficult to apply self care to our own selves?
"Happiness cannot be found from great effort and willpower but it is already there in relaxation and letting go." - Lama Gendun Rinpoche
You cannot care for yourself unless you recognize that you are both in need of and worthy of your own caring. Taking the time to explore how this might translate into downtime and healthy relaxation can feel like a daunting challenge. Welcoming yourself to slowly lean into the idea of finding some new, more chill rhythms before you hit a mid- season burnout just might be that ounce of prevention that affords you a sense of spaciousness in your life. What if you got curious about the role of vulnerability as a gateway to self care? What if you did this preventively before you find yourself in that too familiar feeling of being caught in the vice grip of life?
Take care and thanks for reading.