Sometimes in life, we're presented with multiple opportunities. As an athlete, how can you choose between something that advances your athletic goals and something that advances goals in an equally important (but completely different) part of your life? Maybe it's your full-time job, maybe it's school, or even a much anticipated chance to travel.
Opportunities look different for each of us based on our own goals and lifestyles. It's important to be able to make a decision that works for you and that sets you up for success in the future.
I was recently faced with this very dilemma. This is how I made a decision I felt confident, happy and excited about! Yes, I had to "give up" an opportunity to advance one of my goals--but what I got was peace of mind and confidence in my own ability to choose what's right for me. So, something kiiiiind of priceless ;-)
Check your Health
How are you feeling? Have you been healthy or are you struggling to get enough sleep every night? Are you eating to fuel your workouts or have you been indulging more so than usual? As an athlete, these are the details that determine your overall performance. It's easy to forget (or completely refuse) to listen to your body; if you're wondering if you should start a two a day program versus spending that morning time preparing for an upcoming test or project, your health (i.e., sleep, diet, stress) should be the first thing you check into.
Check your Timeline
Timeline it out: will either of these opportunities present themselves again within the next 3, 6 or 12 months? When deciding between speaking at a conference and taking a fight, I knew that the conference was a one time event, while there would undoubtedly be many fights within any of those time frames. In your case, you may have the opportunity to play as a starter in an upcoming game, but it falls at the same time as networking event you need to attend. Again, this is about figuring out what works for you, so apply the timeline and ask yourself, which of these things do I have less of an opportunity to repeat?
Check your Fuel
"Fuel" can be different for all of us. No matter what it is though, it's quantifiable (i.e., you can put it in numbers). If you're torn between a school choice and a training choice, your "fuel" may be your grades vs. your hours of free time. Numbers vs. Numbers. In my case, my "fuel" referred to my current salary versus the number of fights I want to take this year. I had to decide: take this opportunity that could potentially advance my career and get me a raise or take a fight and gain much needed experience? After you've checked into your body and figured out your timeline, play the numbers game: which of these numbers is more important to you right now, for this specific choice?
I had checked my health and knew I wasn't feeling my best. I checked my timeline and knew, there will definitely be more fights this year. And I checked my "fuel", knowing that this career opportunity meant more in the long run than this fight. As an athlete, that is a really difficult decision to make because, theoretically, you never want anything to stand in the way of your goals. But since most of us do not have the luxury of being paid athletes, we have to fit our athletic goals in with all the other important, wonderful, complex goals and aspects of our daily lives.
The next time I'm faced with a choice between two conflicting opportunities, the outcome may be completely different. But no matter the case, I know how to make a decision that work for me--and hopefully, you do too!