After spending more than 35 years in professional sport I have worked with players and teams at all levels from beginner to England Internationals in several sports; world ranked juniors and world ranked men and women. We have always worked on the four elements which when combined create the ideal performance state: technical, tactical, physical and mental, mental being the last piece to the jigsaw. Having trained and taught so many players the key to mental toughness it is now, when my wife has been diagnosed with cancer that I really appreciate how much power those skills can bring to you.
So, in the first instance you have to accept the referee’s (Doctors) decision. You cannot change it. You cannot rewind the clock. Nobody is to blame, it’s nobody’s fault, it is what it is and the sooner you can accept this the sooner you can start to prepare for the fight
When you have accepted the decision, it is time to focus. Focus on what you can control. Focus on what comes next, handle your affairs and prepare yourself for the battle ahead. Any sign of anger or loss of control will have a negative and serious effect on your progress
The future is out of our control so don’t waste time worrying about it. Take care of the here and now and when the future comes it too will be the here and now.
Next time you get some news, even if your first reaction is to be negative, just pretend you are giving your post-match press conference and think about the positives that have happened since you started your fight, talk about them and explain that you are focused on these to help you progress.
Many other people do not accept this challenge and feel there is no way back. They can never win from here or can never recover from that position. If that is what you think and feel, then the odds are you will be proven right and you will lose!
Don’t be beaten! As long as there is a way to win look for it, work for it and challenge those around you to be on ‘your team’. Who knows what might happen in ‘Fergie Time’?
The more specific your goals the easier it is to plan for it. It needs to be measurable, so you can tick the box when you have accomplished it. Achievable means it must be within your reach. Becoming a millionaire by tomorrow would be nice but, unless you win the lottery, it is not really achievable. Realistic is similar to achievable and helps keep some level of logic in your decisions. Timed, in essence, just means giving a date to your goals and, as such, helps you put things in some sort of order
We cannot put a finite date on how long your battle will continue so ‘how can I put dates to my bucket list?’ I hear you ask. What I do know is that without dates you are much more likely not to achieve them. We cannot focus on more than one thing at a time. Much as we believe we can multitask, we cannot do them with 100% clarity. Try a simple test. Continue reading this text and at the same time write your name on a piece of paper in a straight line. Don’t stop reading and don’t stop writing. Can you? I thought not! So, the two things we learned the most in school, to read and write, we cannot do effectively at the same time. Write your goals or your bucket list, apply the SMART theory and I am sure you will tick many more boxes than you would if you didn’t
We know that no two cancers are the same and, as such, we should never look to compare ourselves with others who may have a similar diagnosis. It is similar, but it simply cannot be the same; there are too many variables. It is a natural human reaction to compare ourselves with others. Better job, bigger house, more money, nicer clothes, longer holidays etc… But these are material goods. There is a baseline for these and an easy way to compare and contrast. Cancer is not so simple. Comparing two cancers or two people with the same ‘simplistic’ diagnosis is like comparing chalk and cheese. So don’t!
Every new scan, series of treatments, diagnosis, complication or change in medication is a new season. The chance to start again, to look for the positives, that new ray or hope, the chance to fight the ‘big boys’ and to have your days of glory. Who knows, maybe you are one of the underdogs who breaks the mould and wins when all seems lost; was never given a chance, is not supposed to succeed yet shocks the world. I once saw on a player’s T shirt with the following slogan: ‘If not me, who?’. So, if not you, who? Better still, why not you? Even better, it will be me! Remember we all love the underdog anyway!
Adrian Rattenbury has more than 35 years’ experience in business, coaching and professional sport, he holds 6 Master Professional Coach Qualifications and has been recognised in the industry as the World, European, Middle East and UK Professional Coach of the Year. He holds a Masters Level qualification in Management a Bachelors Degree in Coaching and Management, a Diploma in Sport Psychology and is a qualified teacher and tutor.