Get In Ready Position
Years ago both of my children played in youth sports leagues, and I also coached several teams over the years. One piece of advice young players regularly receive is to "get in ready position" in order to respond most effectively to whatever may be about to happen. I've come to realize that this is pretty solid advice for adults too.
In baseball young players are taught to face the batter, feet slightly apart, knees bent, weight evenly balanced, glove in front. Anyone standing off-balanced or not particularly paying attention is likely to quickly find the ball speeding past them into the outfield. Nobody is happy with this outcome except the opposing team. That's called a broken play, an opportunity that was missed by not being prepared to take advantage of a situation.
Every sport has some version of a ready position, and this same lesson applies to just about all aspects of life. This reinforces the old saying that "chance favors the prepared mind".
In my Atlanta counseling practice I recently found myself advising a sports-minded client to get in "ready position" in order to take advantage of positive life changes that might be coming over the horizon. We spent a few minutes deciding together what this advice meant for this particular situation. We decided that it included such basic components as getting enough sleep, practicing gratitude, taking time for a little reflection each day, risking healthy failure, talking with a trustworthy ally and "doing the next right thing"..
What "ready position" means will vary somewhat from person to person depending on their goals and the position they are playing in the game of life, just as it does in the variety of sports. But it's safe to say that "ready position" always involves looking forward with a sense of preparedness, positive anticipation and the kind of "muscle memory" that comes from regular practice. And always remember that the most important play in sports is always the next one.)
Can you define the exact components of what it means to be in "ready position" for the life you want to live, the person you want to be, the experiences you want to have? When the opportunity suddenly presents itself will you be properly poised to respond to whatever comes your way so that you can use it to your best advantage? Doing so can mean the difference between "the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat" (if you don't recognize that famous line, ask someone past a certain age, or you can listen to it here.)
Bill Herring, LCSW, CSAT no longer coaches kids in sports, but he coaches, counsels and consults with adults who want to live happy, fulfilling and emotionally healthy lives.