This is a question I struggled with A LOT as an elite athlete. How could I ever feel fulfilled or satisfied with my play when I knew that I could always be better?
It’s an extremely important balance to achieve at the highest levels of competition; between wanting more and knowing when you’ve truly done your best regardless of the outcome.
As a younger athlete just getting into division I hockey, I had no idea how to measure my success aside from playing time and coach recognition. And in that first year O got very little of both of those things.
Learning to understand that I could feel fulfilled in myself as an athlete without any kind of external achievement was a steep learning curve but, ultimately, it is what allowed me to experience real happiness in my sport.
I don’t think I ever would have felt any sort of fulfillment had I continued to go down the path of needing external validation or achievement because it never would have been enough… I never would have been enough.
I had to learn to see achievement through a different lens in order to feel fulfilled. Like so many other athletes, I had to adjust my focus and train my brain on how to focus on internal measures of success.
It was difficult, like teaching myself a new language, but at the end of the day, I know it’s what allowed me to feel satisfied with myself as an athlete.