Wednesday, September 9, 2009

How to Turn Disappointment into Positive Outlook

For the first time in my life I am a bit...hmmm I'm not really sure of the right word to use here...maybe apprehensive, maybe uneasy, maybe a little timid to start an entire new season of swimming. Why you may ask? It's simple, because the previous season was a very difficult one for me, one that ended with great disappointment and in the end, some self-doubt.

I know I worked hard this past year and prepared better than I ever had before. My coaches knew I worked really hard this past season and had a lot of confidence in me. I was so confident in the fact that I was going to go faster than the previous summer and was looking forward to doing better at the International stage than I did in Beijing. Throughout my entire life I've always been a very confident person and truly believe I could and can accomplish anything I set out to do. This is great, except for the rare times I haven't done as well as I worked for and planned on and I feel crushed with defeat.

I felt crushed with defeat after this summer. Two third place finishes at Nationals was not what I had planned. However, I am not a quitter and will not accept bad endings like this. Here are the steps I am already going through to turn myself around.
1. Be sad about it for a little bit. Do whatever needs to be done in order to try and get over that feeling of initial disappointment i.e. go on a vacation, cry, talk to friends, write about it to get it out of your mind etc.
2. Objectively look at what may have gone wrong whether they are big things and/or little things. Figure out how you may be able to fix them for the future.
3. Look for the bright shimmers of light. Even when it feels like everything is wrong there are ALWAYS positives. Find them. Some bright lights for me this summer were my parents being there for a bit after Worlds, eating good food, experiencing a new culture, meeting new people etc.
4. Keep your feet moving. Although we may not want to keep at it, although we may want to give up, although our face seems like it is shoved down into a pile of poop, we must go on. In my eyes there is really no choice. I always remind myself, "Garrett, you can do absolutely anything you decide to set your mind to." I truly believe should too. If you don't believe it just take a look at all the Tycoons and successful people in America who came from absolutely nothing, who were down in the dumps, who got fired from their jobs and said, "Screw you guys, I will rise up again and show you how strong my will and desire really is!"
5. Try to surround yourself with others who can support you and help you make your dreams possible. None of us can do it alone. We need motivation, coaching, nurturing, love and so much more from so many people in order to get where we want to go. Try sharing your dreams and aspirations with others...I've found people really gravitate towards it and want to help you:)

I'm working hard to go through these steps...It's not always easy...not always easy at all. The truth is that I know what I want...I want to be successful and have a better swim season next year. In order for me to do this I must go through these steps.


J said...

A exceptional blog...I look forward to this on a weekly basis ....I will say it again you are humble person, and you don't forget the family, friends, coaches, and points of inspiration that have guided you through this journey of swimming and life.I think we all reach those ups and downs, for me its recreational tennis, I had more losses than wins on the tennis courts...but a good friend gave me some good advice "as long as your having fun and putting forth your best effort." I have gained more experience and character building to reach outside my comfort zone. You inspire so many people who enjoy following your journey. Keep up the hard work, determination, and passion that you put into this sport. Rock on!

Adin said...

Dude, Garret you're awesome! I know u can achieve what you want, ur very inspirational to me!

LisieMern said...

A friend recently shared a quote with me: "Our difficulties are designed to catch our attention and allow us a means to manifest grace in our lives." It's from "Invisible Acts of Power" by Carolyn Myss. Another friend calls them AFGO's -- Another F-ing Growth Opportunity. Either way you look at it, I think you have your situation in a good perspective. Keep listening to your still, small voice. It will lead you along the correct path.

Ashley said...

Wonderful blog!! Your steps are definitely ones worth living ones life around. I have complete faith in you that you'll do amazing this season. Keep your head up G!!

Nicole said...

I believe that if you can get the olympics and come away with a medal of any color. you can do anything else. Good luck with swimming and getting over your disappointment. Go eat some good (and healthy) food. Thats what I am about to do!

Anonymous said...

That sounds like a really legit plan! I think it's really important to face up to your feelings(step 1). I've ignored my dissapointment and anger at myself before and just tried to move forward and it didn't really work out. I really hope you have a good season!

Anonymous said...

Hang in there! Who knows the reason Nationals turned out the way it did, but your optimism will bring you through this difficulty. You are incredibly talented and driven, and you are correct-- you can do anything you set out to do. One of my favorite quotes, from Winston Churchill, is "Never, never, never, never give up." I think you and Winston shared the same sense of optimism. With an attitude like yours, you can only succeed. Best of luck this season!

BMcCurdy said...

on a much smaller scale I feel like we had similar seasons. I really had a lot of opprotunities to swim fast but I think i put a little to much stress/pressure emphasis on swimming fast and didnt ever swim up to my ability.

i am putting more emphasis on having fun and taking it a little lighter and i have recently swam best times near the end of 6,500 yard practices.

Garrett said...

Thanks J. I really work hard to write something I think people will be able to connect with. I really appreciate your continued follow and interaction.

LisieMern I think that first quote is exceptional and very spot on. Thanks so much for writing really brings some things into perspective.

All of your comments are much appreciated!

Muus said...

Garrett, I have to say it over and over again, I just love reading your blog. This posting here, so reminded me of myself two years ago. I have never been lower in my life. Didn't know what to do, where to go and how to handle the situation. So just like you wrote, having friends you can talk to, people who support and love you no matter what, is what helped me overcome this hard time. I started to look at the glass half full. I realized, even if something bad happens to you, after some time, with some distance you see the positive influence it had on your life. You always learn something from it in some way.

You will grow from your disappointment and rise stronger than ever before! You just have to believe in yourself. We most certainly believe in you and are really looking forward to the new Season and you swimming. :)

Ruthann said...

Thanks for sharing Garrett, It was great seeing you at ASCA ( Starbucks with Josh). Thank you for spending time with the kids at the clinic. Your blog has a timely message and I will encourage my swimmers to tune into it. As you are in WI, if you need a little pool time, we would love to see you. Also, there is a great book called Peaks and Valleys by Spencer Johnson (Who moved my cheese)that is a quick read and has a great message about dealing with the ups and downs. Thanks again Garrett for all you give back to the swimming community. Ruth Ann Ahnen LCST

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