Monday, June 25, 2012

On Managing My Season

My deep love for all things Olympic was re-kindled this weekend as I watched parts of the U.S. Track & Field trials.  In particular, I loved watching Sanya Richards-Ross, winner of the 400m.  I love her style--it's nice to look so fabulous while accomplishing so much.  But what really caught my attention was one of the commentators, who said, "She's done a great job managing her season."

I'd never looked at track through this lens, although of course it makes sense that peaking at the right time is what sports training is all about.  Athletes know they have seasons, and each one is a new beginning, a chance to try new approaches, reach for new goals, and be better than the season before.  Early seasons are building blocks to establish what comes later.

And as Sanya flew around the track, I wondered: Am I doing a good job managing my season?

We regular folks have seasons too, even if they're less clearly delineated.  We have:
- Seasons of preparation (school, starting a new job/relationship/family status/project)
- Seasons of getting things done (when we're in that sweet spot where talent & capacity collide with opportunity)
- Seasons of recovery (either because we've accomplished a goal or been swatted down by an obstacle or foe);  and
- Seasons of starting over.

In every season, I tend to wish for that sweet spot season of getting things done.  Those are my favorite.  And there's a HUGE temptation to feel like a slacker whenever I'm not in that season.  Which is ridiculous.  I don't feel like I've failed when I can't hold the weather here in New England steady at a constant Indian Summer/September (my favorite season).  Why should I feel weird when my own life has changing seasons, too?  My job isn't to prevent or control the's to manage them well.

That, my friends, feels like a revelation of Olympian import.

Knowing the goal of a season helps:

- If the season is preparatory, the goal is to learn.
- If the season is getting things done, the goal is to DO.
- If the season is recovery, the goal is to find the wounds & get them patched up, then give them a chance to heal.
- And if the season is starting over, the goal is to listen to God as He tells me, "Wait.  Okay, start here. Try this.  That's it...keep going..." And act on what I hear.

We can't change our seasons or rush through them.  But we can manage them so that they build something solid to stand on in seasons to come.


Corina said...

Do you ever feel like your season is preparatory AND getting stuff done? I feel like I'm in a weird in-between point...

Trish Ryan said...

Hi Corina, YES there's definitely overlap b/w seasons! Which is why we sometimes get snow in April here in Boston...but also why I can sometimes go to the beach in early November :)