7 Steps to Changing the Game

Playing a new game beyond sportEveryone goes through some major changes in life – coming of age; career changes; parenthood; retirement; and more. For athletes, a dramatic change might come earlier in life than expected with the end of a sporting career.

These times can be challenging for anyone, regardless of how prepared you think you are. Not only is there a new way of life to contend with, perhaps new skills to learn but there can also be an identity crisis. A life committed to a career or certain activity can result in a strong identification with that.  When change then occurs a person may wonder “Who am I?”

Instead of looking forward towards a new phase in life and new experiences, a retired athlete might stay focused on the past.  They may look behind at how they were, and what they did achieve.  They may even make the mistake of thinking that’s all they are.

Here are 7 Steps that can help you not only cope with change, but to take charge of changing your life for the better. Be a game changer!

  1. Set New Goals

Humans are goal-seeking missiles. We need a reason to get out of bed in the morning. Without goals people are aimless and decisions are hard to make because they have nothing to base them on. They say that if you aim at nothing, you are sure to get that – nothing.

It’s time to think about what it is you want – what do you want to do, to have and to be? Some people get stuck here by limiting themselves to goals they know how to reach. Don’t worry about the how yet. Once you set a goal, you can then find the how because you know the direction you want to go. Dare to dream at this stage and imagine that anything is possible. What do you want?

  1. Let go of limiting blocks – you CAN do it

Some people going through change may hold on to what they know they can do, and limit themselves to what else they are capable of. It’s time to realize you can do anything you set your mind to. It may not be easy in the beginning, but believing in yourself will help you get over the mistakes and perceived failures.  It will help you to learn from them and drive you to keep going until you make it.

Your beliefs about what you can and can’t do are all in your mind and based on past programming. You can change it. Awareness that you can change is the first step. You may need some help or coaching to get rid of limiting blocks so that you can see how much more you are capable of.

  1. Get Support

If you are changing then you may need to change the people you hang around with. You want to surround yourself with people who support you, are inspiring and encourage you to play the game of life how you desire.

Don’t limit yourself by only hanging around past colleagues – this keeps you entrenched in the past. Avoid hanging around retirees that are dejected and hating being retired. You want to hang around people that are like you – setting new goals and daring to dream.  The best thing you can do is find people that are already doing what you would like to do.

  1. Learn New Skills

With a change in life you will be doing different things which require different skills. Challenge yourself to learn these and become excellent at them. That may mean doing a course, reading books or getting some personal training. This will help make the transition so much easier and quicker because you are not spending so much time learning by trial and error. Enjoy the challenge of upgrading your skills and learning something new.

  1. Make a plan

This goes hand in hand with setting goals. Map out what you want to achieve in the next year and then work out what you need to do in the next 3 months. I like working in 3 month stages – its small enough to be manageable and large enough to stretch yourself to improve.

Break down your goals to mini-deadlines or steps so that you know what needs to be done to achieve each goal. It might be specific, if you know the details, or it might be more abstract, if you are a little unclear on how to reach your goal. Just be curious about how you might go about moving forward.

  1. Expand your Identity

You may be trapped in the identity of your past career and think that that is all you are. I come from a sporting background and boxed myself into thinking that I was ‘just an athlete’. When I realized that I was so much more than that, my whole world opened up. I was a business person, I was a loving person, I was anything I wanted to be. So are you. Your skills and character that you have developed in the past are applicable to so much more.

You can even pretend to take on a new identity. Imagine if you pretended you were a successful entrepreneur.  You might then start thinking and acting like a successful entrepreneur.  With time you will become a successful entrepreneur?

  1. Get Greater Meaning

The most effective and long-lasting motivation comes from within and is purpose-driven. What is your purpose in life? What impact will your goals have on you, others, the global community and even the planet?

Consider your particular goal…what will it get you beyond the result itself? If your goal is to get a fancy car – ask yourself, “For what purpose?” When you are living with purpose, the universe conspires for your success, and opportunities come your way.

There are the seven steps to help you change your life and get focused on the future. Add a dose of curiosity and some passion and you will be well on your way to living with fulfillment and becoming a game-changer.

Have I missed anything?  What other steps will help you change the game?  What worked for you?

Annette Lynch is an Olympian, Inspirational Speaker, Author, NLP Practitioner and Athlete Transition specialist - she has coached, taught and inspired audiences world-wide with her Olympic dream, the champion mindset and her recipe for success. "Success beyond Sport' is her 8-Step guide to redesigning life in a 2nd career, combining Annette's experience with her studies and qualifications as a Master Results Coach and NLP Practitioner. Her book is available on Amazon and Smashwords.

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