Wednesday, November 2, 2011

All You Can Do

Present meets future at Mite Nite
This past Saturday was "Mite Nite" where two of the Mite teams (ages 6-8) from the organization where I coach hockey went down to a Chicago area rink to watch a heated high school rivalry coached by their own coach, Coach Scott (pics HERE).

Scott and I played high school hockey together back in the day and this season he asked me to help out with his Mite teams, which frankly has been a highlight of my year. Prior to the game I asked Scott what his message to his high school varsity team was going to be heading into the game and he said:

"One shift at a time"

If you are a golfer like me, this phrase is very familiar. In addition to ice hockey, I spent a large portion of my youth on various golf courses around the Midwest. I originally was drawn to the game when I wondered why my Dad didn't go to church some summer Sundays when I was required to go...

I was quite an observant 7 year old...

Shortly after taking up the game I was hooked. Not sure if it was the hot dogs in the clubhouse or the occasional good shot, but there was something about the sport that demanded my attention. As I honed my physical swing my coaches and mentors began enlightening me about the mental aspects of golf. Funny stuff happens to your golf swing when you start thinking about the score you will shoot or how you are about to beat your Dad for the first time.

In short, you get ahead of yourself and out of the moment that requires your immediate attention resulting in poor shots and the dashing your hopes of a personal best or bragging rights at the dinner table. Thus, one of the greatest pieces of advice for any golfer is to take your round:

"One shot at a time"

The concept of one shift/shot at a time was something I leaned on heavily in my cancer journey. I had one chemo treatment every two weeks for 8 months and certain days with upwards of 5 different scans and tests. From the day of diagnosis through my last treatment I was looking at about 9 months of "the fight" which was a familiar number to my wife and me seeing that she just carried our son in her pregnancy for the same time a year and a half prior.

That's a long time... And a lot of McDonald's strawberry milkshake runs...

Standing on the first tee of my cancer treatment, I committed to taking my journey one task at a time until my oncologist told me to stop. If I was in a scan I would lay as still as possible so the pathologist could get the most accurate picture to make their diagnosis. If it was a treatment day I would give my body the rest and nourishment it needed to handle the stress of the chemicals.

The key to this lesson is to maximize your effort in the current moment understanding that it is all you can control. If you start getting ahead of yourself thinking about future outcomes you are only taking away from your potential by robbing the current task of your attention.

This life lesson is not restricted to an ice rink, golf course, or Chemo Den. It is one we can practice every day in our pursuit of fulfilment. By staying true to yourself and executing each task to your utmost ability when it is time to reflect on your path you will see that you lifted your life to a higher level.

It's all you can do...

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