Are you working against your new season?

For some people, the beginning of fall carries as much anticipation as January 1st.

I’m “some people.”

I still love getting new supplies with all the back-to-school shoppers though I’m not officially a student. I get excited when my favorite shows come back from the summer hiatus. I’m not a huge football fan, yet I enjoy the crispness of football weather. Also, in autumn, we get three sports going at once. Baseball is on the way out, and all the broadcasts are talking about which teams are in the running for playoff positions. Football stats abound from college and NFL games. In between all that, folks are speculating on what’s going to happen when the NBA season begins.

The balancing act that each person must submit to in these discussions? How closely the player or the team performs compared to the projections. Isn’t that what we all want to know? Can the person whose performance we’re counting on live up to our expectations? Even more, are we able to improve our ranking in the eyes of others by making certain adjustments?

At times, sticking by strict routines fails to bring the results we crave. Why? I suggest it’s because we don’t adapt our patterns to changing times, and when we do, we don’t support that new routine with revised thinking. For those of us hoping for a new or better season, here are four ways we may be working against it:

1. Your new team gets the old you.

Kevin Durant left the Oklahoma City Thunder to go to the Golden State Warriors. His play didn’t suffer as much as his reputation from that move; his core skills remained the same. But this spring he reported he’d changed his game to function well there. As a result, they won two championships. Now consider your transitions. Have you made some moves without changing your game plan to ensure the best fit as you bring your assets into a new space? If so, don’t blame the environment before looking in the mirror. 

2. Your old wounds resurface while on your new team.

Demarcus “Boogie” Cousins went to the Warriors for a year and sat most of the season recovering from an injury. After being traded to the Lakers this summer, he didn’t make it to preseason before being injured again. Like Boogie, I endured some wounds in a church once. When I went to a new church, I had to make a consistent effort not to allow those wounds to reemerge and present barriers to serving effectively in that community. I was ultimately responsible for my health related to my past, not my new team. 

3. You look to the new team to make you number one.

Kyrie Irving had big plans when he left the Cleveland Cavaliers. Rumors suggest that he wanted to know the feeling of leading a team. As time progressed with the Boston Celtics, some flaws surfaced that he may not have noticed before. Initially, the issue wasn’t the flaws. Problems arose as people waited for him to shoulder some of the responsibility for the team’s results. Had playing in the number two spot for several years created weaknesses? Probably not; he excelled in that role. He seemed to be limited by not realizing that he needed more than a new team to reach his ultimate goal. As you climb the ladder, be sure to acknowledge why you believe you should be number one, but also listen to those who may advocate for why you’re better as a number two for now.

4. You try to prove your greatness to the detriment of the team.

The NBA boasts a lot of great stars. I’m from Chicago, so Michael Jordan reigns as the GOAT in my book. However, I can name all the starters because, as a fan, I was able to identify and appreciate the way they worked as a team. In recent years I became a Golden State Warriors fan, not merely because they were winning. I took notice because they enjoyed themselves so much that I believed it was helping them to win. And though I love reaching toward excellence, I enjoy the process most when I’m functioning in one position, not trying to play them all. 

You may be in search of a new team to play on, believing it will relieve a measure of the pressure you’re experiencing. Or, you may be seeking a new season to motivate you to new heights, but you’re feeling stuck. Are you going to give up on the joy that a new season can bring? 

If this is you and none of these tips apply to your situation, I have one last suggestion. Your new season may be waiting for you to excavate it from your current one by elevating your thinking. If you can expand your capacity to think bigger and “see” what you cannot currently see, you may discover ways to cultivate a new season beginning right where you are. I’m rooting for you!

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