When Things Don't Go Your Way

I like to plan ahead because you just don't know when life is going to throw you a curve ball. But sometimes even when we plan ahead, the curve ball is a bit more wicked than we expected. I have a time devoted to writing every week. I love writing my blog posts, and it's a time I contemplate a variety of things that are swirling around in my head in more detail. I bounce ideas off my husband all day long because that's what happens when both of you are in psychology. 

Yet, this week it didn't exactly go that way. My computer is ancient (at least for a computer anyway). I know I need a new one, but I take pride in using things to their fullest potential. I don't like to be wasteful or buy things before I need to. (I think it's the farm kid in me!) This generally hasn't been an issue...until this week's writing time.

My computer isn't THIS old, but it's certainly not a recent version!

My computer isn't THIS old, but it's certainly not a recent version!

I was working on a book chapter, and my computer crashed. Not a big deal, as this happens regularly now. But then it crashed...FIVE. MORE. TIMES. With every crash, I became more and more stressed. And of course, I became increasingly more frustrated. Yet, I also realized the day of multiple computer crashes was coming and had no one to blame but myself. I know I need a new computer. But people, I have a deadline, to meet! It's also important for me to write authentically, and my frustration was really getting in the way with my creative process.

Then it dawned on me. My computer was actually giving me a wonderful opportunity to reach within my sport psychology brain, use my skills, and write about it. In sport psychology there's a concept called the 3Rs or 5Rs, depending upon which one you use. I like to keep it simple, so I use the 3Rs that Larry Lauer discusses for hockey mental toughness. The 3 Rs stand for Respond, Relax, and Refocus.

We all have situations that get to us emotionally. Emotions are good and okay. Yet, we must acknowledge the emotions and the situations that trigger them so they don't get the best of us. Clearly my emotions were stress, anger, and frustration. If I tried to pretend they weren't there, I was just going to get more annoyed that I was having a hard time writing about my previous topics. I don't like it when my plans are disrupted (especially when I was planning ahead!), so my computer having a mind of its own is clearly a trigger situation. So I took note of my feelings and acknowledged my lack of control over my computer crashing (Respond).

How can you feel upset for long when looking at this furry goofball?! #SweetMollyMixBreed

How can you feel upset for long when looking at this furry goofball?! #SweetMollyMixBreed

Once I could own that situation, I took a big breath, got up, and walked around a bit. I talked to my husband (who was mildly concerned I might chuck my computer across the room, which isn't gonna solve anything) and snuggled with my pups. Then I decided to find the humor in the situation because it actually is quite funny. I also did my workout for the day, as that also helps me blow off steam (Relax).

Doing all of that allowed me to Refocus. All of a sudden, I didn't feel pressure to make some other blog post work. I had good material right in front of me. It also took me considerably less time to write than the other topics that I just wasn't feeling inspired by that day. It was also a good exercise in mental flexibility for me, which is always a work in progress.

So there you have it, folks. A completely reworked blog post brought to you by my legendary computer. I encourage you to think about how you can apply the 3Rs to various aspects of your sport and your life life. Trust me, life will give you many opportunities to practice this skill!

Maybe it's worth hanging onto my computer for a bit longer so I can continue to be inspired? Or not...


Disclaimer: You should consult an appropriate professional for specific advice tailored to your situation. If you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency, you should call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.